Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus University Rotterdam and University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
in: Jutta Allmendinger (Hrsg.) 'Gute Gesellschaft? Verhandlungen des 30 Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie', Opladen 2001, Leske + Budrich, pp. 1265-1314
A good society is first of all a livable society and the livability of a society manifests in the happiness of its members. Therefore a sociology of the good society requires an understanding of happiness, in particular answers to the following questions: 1) What is happiness precisely? 2) Can happiness be measured? 3) How happy are people presently? 4) What causes us to be happy or unhappy? 5) Can happiness be raised lastingly? Through the ages philosophers have toiled with these questions. Since the 1960's they are subject of empirical research. This paper takes stock of the progress.