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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Economizing happiness: resisting wellbeing as a skill, behaviour or lifestyle Seminar

12:30 - 13:30
17 January 2019
Building 44, Room 1041-CLS L/T A

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Professor Peter Sunley on 023 8059 5496 or email .

Event details

Geography Seminar

2018 has seen the emergence of a global political movement (the World Happiness Council, Wellbeing Economy Alliance) to promote happiness in public policy and to use wellbeing to transform the global economy. Happiness is often portrayed as a universal life goal, and popularised in numerous best-selling titles. In these popular texts, and in happiness economics, happiness is increasingly defined as a skill to be learnt and behaviours to be pursued by individual lifestyle change. However, even within the dominant fields of economics and psychology which have shaped a burgeoning happiness studies, there is much contradiction, conflict and fuzziness. In this paper I consider how geographers can rethink happiness by mapping the spaces, methods and promoters of happiness as a global, national and urban public policy agenda. I advance an account of subjective wellbeing as a relational process (Atkinson, 2013) which is situated, embodied and politically contested.

Speaker information

Dr Jessica Pykett, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham. Jessica Pykett is a social and political geographer with research interests in citizenship, governance, and political subjectivities. Her research to date has focused on affective and emotional techniques of governance, and the influence of neuroscience and behavioural science on public policy and economic theory. Current work is on the intersections of neuroscience and geography, concepts of urban stress and urban wellbeing, and political geographies of emotional regulation.

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