Values of Happiness

Toward an Anthropology of Purpose in Life

Edited by Iza Kavedzija and Harry Walker

Values of Happiness

Edited by Iza Kavedzija and Harry Walker

Distributed for HAU

With an Afterword by Joel Robbins
233 pages | 4 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780986132575 Published March 2017
How people conceive of happiness reveals much about who they are and the values they hold dear. Drawing on ethnographic insights from diverse field sites around the world, this book offers a unique window onto the ways in which people grapple with fundamental questions about how to live and what it means to be human. Developing a distinctly anthropological approach concerned less with gauging how happy people are than with how happiness figures as an idea, mood, and motive in everyday life, the book explores how people strive to live well within challenging or even hostile circumstances.

The contributors explore how happiness intersects with dominant social values as well as an array of aims and aspirations that are potentially conflicting, demonstrating that not every kind of happiness is seen as a worthwhile aim or evaluated in positive moral terms. In tracing this link between different conceptions of happiness and their evaluations, the book engages some of the most fundamental questions concerning human happiness: What is it and how is it achieved? Is happiness everywhere a paramount value or aim in life? How does it relate to other ideas of the good? What role does happiness play in orienting peoples’ desires and life choices? Taking these questions seriously, the book draws together considerations of meaning, values, and affect, while recognizing the diversity of human ends.
Contents
List of Contributors
Introduction
Values of happiness
Harry Walker and Iza Kavedžija
Chapter One
Ambivalent happiness and virtuous suffering
C. Jason Throop
Chapter Two
Being careful what you wish for: The case of happiness in China
Charles Stafford
Chapter Three
The good life in balance: Insights from aging Japan
Iza Kavedžija
Chapter Four
Techniques of happiness: Moving toward and away from the good life in a rural Ethiopian community
Dena Freeman
Chapter Five
“Good without God”: Happiness and pleasure among the humanists
Matthew Engelke
Chapter Six
Mindful in Westminster: The politics of meditation and the limits of neoliberal critique
Joanna Cook
Chapter Seven
The path to happiness? Prosperity, suffering, and transnational migration in Britain and Sylhet
Katy Gardner
Chapter Eight
Militantly well
Henrik E. Vigh
Chapter Nine
Le Bonheur Suisse, again
Michael Lambek
Chapter Ten
Joy within tranquility: Amazonian Urarina styles of happiness
Harry Walker
Afterword
On happiness, values, and time: The long and short of it
Joel Robbins
Index
 
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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