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Title: Understanding Happiness: Secrecy and Fantasy as Modes
Other Titles: SOCIAL TRENDS, Vol. 6, March 2019, p 60 - 75
Authors: Bhowmick, Arunima
Keywords: Happiness
negotiated happiness
Issue Date: Mar-2019
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: Happiness as a social concern, extending into a field of study, has been a phenomenon of the last three to four decades. This departure was seen with economists finding correlates to patterns in consumption and psychologists locating social indicators of happiness to support mental wellbeing. In fact, the term “wellbeing” became a more precise and acceptable one for providing a holistic understanding of happiness 1970s onwards. My focus in this paper is to travel back from this era of social indicative research and locate the position of classical thinkers of Sociology with regard to happiness. Thereby finding a platform to address the epistemological problematics in handling “happiness” as an object of social research presently. Sociology has seen a long absence of research in subjective wellbeing, though there has been perennial enquiry into the position of the individual in construction of society. The debates brought to focus by economists like Richard Layard on happiness fosters enough challenge to the ideas of subjective wellbeing and the objective social indicators used to explain the same. However, this position has a very strong emphasis on one’s “understanding” and “expectations”, both indicative of a regular journey between objective attributes of happiness and subjective negotiations. This paper tries to find ways into this negotiated world of secrets that lies on the other side of the objective reality, arriving at a social that offers its own methodological tools and ontological position for explaining the disjuncture and convergence in ideas of happiness.
ISSN: 2348-6538
Appears in Collections:Vol. 6 (March 2019)

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