Happiness and Wellbeing: Advancing the Contribution of Sociology

Day Conference, University of Leicester, 23 September 2011

Keynote speaker: Professor Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

Call for Papers

Public discourse in the UK currently demonstrates substantial academic and political interest in happiness: We can gain insight by studying "subjective well-being" directly rather than merely inferring it from more "objective" forms of well-being such as income. Sociology is uniquely well placed to enrich happiness studies by:

  • developing complementary approaches that use a wide variety of research methods beyond those typically employed by economists and psychologists.
  • inverting the conventional sociological emphasis on the diagnosis of social dysfunction (for example the core concepts of alienation, anomie and inequality) and asking: What are the characteristics, circumstances and actions that enhance happiness and other forms of wellbeing?
  • addressing the relationship between knowledge and social change. Can and should governments deploy research-evidence based policy designed to enhance individuals' happiness? What are the possible paths (if any) from sociological knowledge about happiness to increases in happiness?

We therefore invite abstracts for papers that consider what sociology can contribute to happiness studies. Papers might address substantive questions, methodological issues and/or possibilities and limits of practical application. Please send abstracts to Jane Pilcher and David Bartram (Department of Sociology, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK) by 15 May 2011.

Day Conference Registration deadline: 31 August 2011.

Fees for the Day Conference will be £35 per delegate (including a buffet lunch and refreshments). For further information, please contact Jane Pilcher or David Bartram.

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