Sociology’s Blind Eye for Happiness

in Comparative Sociology
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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



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    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

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    Average happiness in 149 nations: 2000–2009

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

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    Trend of average happiness in some developed nations since 1970

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

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    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

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    Average happiness and modernity in nations in 2000

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

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    Trend of publications on happiness in different scientific specializations

    source: world database of happiness, bibliography

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