Sociology’s Blind Eye for Happiness

in Comparative Sociology
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Empirical studies on happiness have found that: a) most people are happy in modern nations, b) average happiness in nations is rising, c) inequality in happiness is going down, d) happiness depends heavily on the kind of society one lives in, but e) not very much on one’s place in society. These remarkable findings are largely ignored in sociology, if not denied. This has several reasons. One reason is professional bias: most sociologists earn their living dealing with social problems are therefore not apt to see that people flourish. Another reason is ideological: many sociologists are ‘critical’ of modern society and can therefore hardly imagine that people thrive in these conditions. Lastly, some sociological theories play them false, in particular cognitive theories implying that happiness is relative. These theories and the evidence against them are discussed in this paper.

Sociology’s Blind Eye for Happiness

in Comparative Sociology

Sections

References

BenthamJ. Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 1789 London Payne

BergM.VeenhovenR. GreveBent ‘Income inequality and happiness in 119 nations’ ‘Social Policy and Happiness in Europe’ 2010 Edgar Elgar 174 194 chapter 11

BradburnN. The structure of psychological well-being 1969 Chicago, USA Aldine Publishing

BrickmanP.CampbellD.T. AppleyM.H. ‘Hedonic relativism and planning the good society’ Adaptation level theory: a symposium 1971 London, UK Academic Press 287 302

DalyM.C.OswaldA.J.WilsonD.WuS. ‘Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places’ Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2011 80 435 442

DamasioA.R. Descartes’ error: Emotion reason and the human brain 1994 New York Avon Books

DannerD.D.FriesenW.V.SnowdowD.A. ‘Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study’ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2001 80 804 813

DaviesA.G.StrongP.M. ‘Working without a net: the bachelors as a social problem’ Sociological Review 1977 25 109 129

DienerE.LucasR.E.SmithH.L.EunkookS.M. ‘Subjective wellbeing, three decades of progress’ Psychological Bulletin 1999 Vol. 125 276 301 1999

DienerE.LucasR.E. ‘Explaining differences in societal levels of happiness: relative standards need fulfilment, culture and evaluation theory’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2000 1 41 78

DonovanN.HalpernD.SargantR. Life Satisfaction: The State of Knowledge and Implications for Government 2003 Discussion Paper Strategy Unit 2003 Government uk

EasterlinR.A. DavisP.A.MelvinW.R ‘Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence’ Nations and households in economic growth 1974 Paolo Alto Stanford University Press, USA 98 125

EhrhardtJ.SarisW.E.VeenhovenR. ‘Stability of life-satisfaction over time: Analysis of change in ranks in a national population’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2000 1 177 205

ElchardusM.DeGroofSmitsW. ‘Rationele angst of collectieve voorstelling van onbehagen’ Mens en Maatschappij 2005 80 1 48 68

FrankF.H. Luxury fever; why money fails to satisfy in an era of excess 1999 New York The Free press

GiddensA. Sociology 2006 6th edition Cambridge Polity Press

HeadeyB.WearingA.J. Understanding happiness: A theory of subjective wellbeing 1992 Melbourne, Australia Longman Cheshire

InglehartR. Culture shift in advanced industrial society 1990 New York Princeton University Press

JohnsonA.G. Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology 2002 2nd edition Malden, MA Blackwell Publishers

LayardR. Happiness lessons from a new science 2005 New York, USA Penguin books

MarchI.KeatingM.EyreA.CampbellR.McKenzieJ. Making sense of society: An introduction to sociology 1996 Harlow England Addison Wesley Longman

MichalosA.C. ‘Multiple discrepancy theory’ Social Indicator Research 1985 16 347 413

NewmanD.M. Sociology: Exploring the architecture of every day life 1997 2nd edition Thousand Oaks, California, USA Pine Forge Press

NolanP.LenskyG. Human Societies: An introduction to macro-sociology 2004 Boulder Colorado, USA Paradigm Press

OstrootN.SnyderW.W. ‘Measuring cultural bias in a cross-national study’ Social Indicators Research 1985 17 234 251

OttJ. ‘Level and inequality of happiness in nations: Does greater happiness of a greater number imply greater inequality in happiness?’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2005 5 397 420

PléB. ‘Auguste Comte on positivism and happiness’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2000 1 Special issue on ‘Views on happiness in early sociology’ 423 445

SchwartzN.StrackF. StrackF.ArgyleM.SchwartzN. ‘Evaluating one’s life: a judgmental model of subjective well-being’ Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective 1991 Oxford, UK Pergamon Press 27 48

SpencerH. Social statics or the conditions essential to happiness 1857 London Chapman

StaufferS.A. The American soldier: Adjustment during army life 1949 Princeton Princeton University Press

VanPraagB.M.Ferrer-i-CarbonellA. ‘Happiness economics: A new road to measuring and comparing happiness’ Foundations and Trends in Microeconomics 2010 6 1 97

VeenhovenR. Conditions of Happiness 1984 Reidel [now Springer] Dordrecht

VeenhovenR. ‘The cross-national pattern of happiness: Test of predictions implied in three theories of happiness’ Social Indicators Research 1995 43 33 86

VeenhovenR. ‘Well-being in the welfare state: level not higher, distribution not more equitable’ Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 2000 2 91 125

VeenhovenR. ‘Return of inequality in modern society? Test by trend in dispersion of life-satisfaction across time and nations’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2005 6 457 487

VeenhovenR. ‘Comparability of happiness across nations’ School of Sociology and Social Work Journal 2008a no 104 211 234 Kwansei Gakuin University Japan

VeenhovenR. ‘Healthy Happiness: Effects of Happiness on physical health and consequences for preventive health care’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2008b 9 449 464

VeenhovenR. DuttA.K.RadcliffB. ‘How do we assess how happy we are?’ Happiness Economics and Politics: Towards a multi-disciplinary approach 2009 Cheltenham UK Edward Elger Publishers 45 69 Chapter 3

VeenhovenR. DienerEdHelliwellJohn F.KahnemanDaniel ‘How universal is happiness?’ International Differences in Well-Being 2010 New York Oxford University Press 328 350 Chapter 11

VeenhovenR. World Database of Happiness: Archive of research findings on subjective appreciation of life Section Correlational findings 2013a Erasmus university Rotterdam http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl

VeenhovenR. Trend Happy-Life-Years in Nations 1946–2010: How long and happy people live 2013b Trend report in World Database of Happiness

VeenhovenR. SheldonK.LucasR. ‘Long-term change of happiness in nations: To times more rise than decline since the 1970s’ Stability of happiness: Theories and evidence on whether happiness can change 2014 Elsevier Publishing 167 200 chapter 9

VeenhovenR.KalmijnW. ‘Inequality-adjusted happiness in nations: Egalitarianism and utilitarianism married together in a new index of societal performance’ Journal of Happiness Studies 2005 6 (Special issue on inequality of happiness in nations) 421 455

VeenhovenR.BergM. ‘Has modernization gone too far? Modernity and happiness in 141 contemporary nations’ International Journal of Happiness and Development 2013 1 172 195

VeenhovenR.VergunstF. ‘The Easterlin Illusion: Economic growth does go with greater happiness’ International Journal of Happiness and Development 2014 2 in press

wdh World Database of Happiness see Veenhoven 2013a

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Life-satisfaction in western nations 2005–2008

    data: world values survey, round 5, 2005–2008. pooled probability samples of 18+ aged general public in greece, portugal, spain, italy, germany, france, finland, belgium, sweden, norway, new zealand, austria, switzerland, denmark, ireland, netherlands, canada, australia, united states, luxembourg. reported in daly et al. 2011

  • View in gallery
    Average happiness in 149 nations: 2000–2009

    data taken from the world database of happiness; rankreport average happiness

  • View in gallery
    Trend of average happiness in some developed nations since 1970

    data: world database of happiness (wdh 2014), data file trends in nations

  • View in gallery
    Trend of inequality of happiness in 9 eu nations, Japan and the usa

    data: world database of happiness (wdh 2014), data file trend in nations

  • View in gallery
    Average happiness and modernity in nations in 2000

    data: world database of happiness, data file states of nations

  • View in gallery
    Trend of publications on happiness in different scientific specializations

    source: world database of happiness, bibliography

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 17 17 12
Full Text Views 16 16 16
PDF Downloads 4 4 4
EPUB Downloads 1 1 1