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149 MOTIVATION The Benefits of Mola Making T he structuring of Kuna society, which provides women hours of time each day for sewing molas, has the support of the whole community, including strong encouragement by Kuna leaders, who urge the continued wearing of mola blouses. This support may be considered a major motivating factor . In addition, the sale of molas makes a significant contribution to the Kuna economy. Psychologists sometimes approach factors of motivation as either intrinsic or extrinsic. While it is not proposed to pursue this in detail here, understanding the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is helpful. Intrinsic motivation relates to personal interest and enjoyment gained while carrying out a task, and extrinsic motivation relates to factors from outside the individual, from another individual, or from society. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors can be understood to reinforce an individual’s behavior. The encouragement and support of the whole Kuna society for the sewing of molas may be considered an extrinsic motivator, the satisfaction Kuna women gain from sewing molas may be considered an intrinsic motivator, and the sale of used molas or molas sewn specifically for trade could be considered both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This is the case because Kuna society encourages the commercialization of molas to reinforce the association of molas with the perception of Kuna identity by outsiders. In addition, from the intrinsic perspective, Kuna women enhance their self-sufficiency and autonomy and benefit their families directly, especially if there is no male head of household. I address the extrinsic motivation further in the next chapter, in the discussion of Kuna cultural survival—an important element of which is the strong encouragement given to Kuna women to sew and wear molas. In this chapter, the intrinsic motivators and the societal context within which molas are sewn are explored in order to gain an understanding of how mola making contributes to the well-being of Kuna women. understanding motivating factors and well-being The achievement of well-being is now considered by Seligman to be more important than the achievement of happiness. His work on achieving happiness had as its mission to “increase life satisfaction ”; he now proposes that a better goal is to achieve chapter five 150 Introduction Chapter Five well-being so that individuals and society “increase flourishing by increasing positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment,” thus leading to a fulfilling life.1 Seligman’s expanded definition of well-being includes the three elements of his original “authentic happiness” theory— positive emotion, engagement, and meaning—with the addition of two other elements, accomplishment and positive relationships . These five elements are independent and measurable. He proposes that the concept of well-being reflects reality more than his original theory of happiness. The components that contribute to well-being, as defined by Seligman, can be summarized as follows: 1.  Positive emotion—a subjective state experienced in the present that is characterized by pleasure or ecstasy. 2.  Engagement—a subjective state experienced retrospectively , similar to positive emotion and often referred to as being engrossed in an activity or being in a flow state. 3.  Meaning—“belonging to and serving something you believe is bigger than the self.” 4.  Accomplishment—achievement of a goal, activities people choose to do, the pursuit of wealth, or winning a game. 5.  Positive relationships—interacting with other people and providing emotional support within groups of people.2 The component of accomplishment is considered next as part of an examination of “serious leisure”; then the component of engagement is considered, with particular reference to the achievement of flow. This is followed by an exploration of research specifically linking the psychological benefits of textile activities to women who are involved in sewing. the study of serious leisure The development of the concept of serious leisure originates with the work of Stebbins in the 1970s. After thirty years of research, the term has been refined and studied extensively.3 Three definitions of the different types of leisure provide an understanding of Stebbins’s approach: •  Serious leisure: systematic pursuit of an amateur, hobbyist , or volunteer activity sufficiently substantial, interesting , and fulfilling that, in the typical case, the participant finds a career there acquiring and expressing a combination of its special skills, knowledge, and experience. •  Casual leisure: immediately, intrinsically rewarding, relatively short-lived pleasurable activity, requiring little or no special training to enjoy it. •  Project-based leisure: short-term, reasonably complicated, one-shot or occasional, though infrequent, creative undertaking carried out in free time...


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