'Not Smiling but Frowning': Sociology and the 'Problem of Happiness'

Cieslik, Mark (2015) 'Not Smiling but Frowning': Sociology and the 'Problem of Happiness'. Sociology, 49 (3). pp. 422-437. ISSN 0038-0385

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038514543297

Abstract

Mainstream British sociology has curiously neglected happiness studies despite growing interest in wellbeing in recent years. Sociologists often view happiness as a problematic, subjective phenomenon, linked to problems of modernity such as consumerism, alienation and anomie. This construction of ‘happiness as a problem’ has a long history from Marx and Durkheim to contemporary writers such as Ahmed and Furedi. Using qualitative interview data, I illustrate how lay accounts of happiness suggest it is experienced in far more ‘social’ ways than these traditional subjective constructions. We should therefore be wary of using crude representations of happiness as vehicles for our traditional depictions of modernity. Such ‘thin’ accounts of happiness have inhibited a serious sociological engagement with the things that really matter to ordinary people, such as our efforts to balance suffering and flourishing in our daily lives.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethics, happiness, narcissism, sociology, wellbeing
Subjects: L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 15:03
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 08:24
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/22871

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