Towards a developmental understanding of happiness
journal contributionposted on 27.01.2015, 15:18 by Alexandra Jugureanu, Jason Hughes, Kahryn Hughes
In this paper we centrally explore the 'sociogenesis' of the concept of happiness: the social processes by which it came to be a term appropriated by different practitioner communities - from policy makers to academics, from a burgeoning self-help industry to advocates of positive psychology. Our core focus is upon shifting historical understandings of the term and how these relate to more general social processes. Our aim in this paper is not to present a definitive history of happiness, but rather something of the overall direction of changes in dominant approaches to, and understandings of, happiness particularly within what we might broadly term 'the human sciences'. Ultimately, we offer a series of tentative reflections upon the implications of a developmental approach to happiness for sociological analyses of this increasingly popular area of concern.