THE SOCIOLOGY OF HAPPINESS: Topic in Social Indicators Research

Ruut Veenhoven

In: Markus S.Schulz (Ed.)Frontiers of Global Sociology: Research Perspectives for the 21st century, chapter 23, pp 243-251 ISA Research 2018 Berlin/New YorkISBN 978-3-746744-53-7
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Happines was a topic in early sociology and interest in the subject revived in the 1970s in the context of social indicators research. In this strand happiness is defined as the subjective enjoyment of one’s life as a whole and measured using self-report, typically single direct questions. Such questions are now part of surveys all over the world and the findings obtained with these studies are gathered in the World Database of Happiness. Main findings are: 1) most people are happy, 2) average happiness in nations is rising, 3) inequality in happiness is decreasing and 4) differences in happiness within nations are more a matter of individual life-ability than of social position. These findings are hardly acknowledged in main stream sociology as yet.

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