Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Oxford Brookes Anthropologist receives Early Career award from the Enhancing Life Project

Wednesday, 07 October 2015

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, Jason Danely, was one of only twenty scholars from around the world to receive a two-year $50,000 Early Career award from the Enhancing Life Project, a collaborative research group funded by the John Templeton Foundation in collaboration with the University of Chicago and Ruhr University, Bochum.

Danely plans to use the award to conduct research on compassion among family carers of older adults in the UK and in Japan. More developed countries like the UK and Japan are already experiencing major strains to the capacity of their social care systems to handle the growing number of older adults in need of care, and depend heavily on volunteers, charities, and family members. Danely has found that these carers are less likely to experience carer exhaustion when they see themselves as practicing compassion, and yet little is known about the differences in the meanings, practices, and experiences of compassion across cultures that have very different linguistic, religious, and cultural contexts. Danely plans to use ethnographic observation and interviews with carers to explore ways of cultivating compassion in order to help people around the world who may be struggling with the emotional burden of caring for an older family member.

As part of the award, Danely joined 34 other scholars, from theologians to neuroethicists,  from universities around the world last summer in Banff, Canada for a week-long workshop on what it means to "enhance life". This fellowship, and Danely's research on compassion, will form the basis for a new module at Brookes titled "Culture and Care," in which students will be able to study care across the life course and in different societies around the world.