Shortly after the highly successful 2014 HDCA conference in Athens, the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) conference took place in Berlin, Germany. Like the HDCA, the ISQOLS conference is truly multi-disciplinary, and is attended by everyone from philosophers to economists and psychologists to sociologists and statisticians, plus those of us who have begun to introduce ourselves as ‘cross-disciplinary scholars.’ There is a strong tendency at ISQOLS towards an interest in subjective well-being, but amongst the hordes of happiness economists, a few capabilitarians shone through. In fact, it was a lovely reunion, as some of us who had met in Athens two weeks previously found ourselves reunited in Berlin.
The ISQOLS conference provided a wonderful opportunity for many fascinating (and sometimes heated!) discussions about the merits of different approaches towards conceptualising, measuring and evaluating the quality of life and different aspects of well-being, and revealed great areas of overlap as well as differences between the ISQOLS and HDCA communities. Overall, it seems that the opportunities for fruitful interaction between these two overlapping communities are manifold, and the bridges should be actively built and maintained. The CA has an enormous contribution to make to the International Society for Quality of Life Studies, and the conversation can only be beneficial to capabilities scholarship and practice.
By Annie Austin, member of HDCA and ISQOLS