Lay Theories and the Cultural Contingency of Happiness

14 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2010

Date Written: October 14, 2010

Abstract

This paper plans to explore the extent to which prevailing lay understandings of happiness are culturally contingent. It addresses the case of home, EU and international students in British Universities. The proposed research seeks to investigate a number of academic issues, such as the cultural relativity of happiness, the norms and values that people from different cultures attribute to subjective well-being in a multicultural society and the variation of hedonic and eudaemonic understandings of happiness among these people. The conclusions drawn from the data analysis found differences in lay understandings of happiness, in part co-related to the following culturally contingent tendencies: notions of the independent vs. interdependent self; individually vs. socially oriented; individualism vs. collectivism; and personal accomplishment and self-esteem vs. social harmony and connectedness.

Keywords: Happiness, Subjective Well-Being, Lay Theories, Cross-Cultural Investigations, Individualism/Collectivism

Suggested Citation

Jugureanu, Alexandra and Hughes, Jason, Lay Theories and the Cultural Contingency of Happiness (October 14, 2010). ESA Research Network Sociology of Culture Midterm Conference: Culture and the Making of Worlds, October 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1692187

Alexandra Jugureanu (Contact Author)

Brunel University ( email )

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

Jason Hughes

Brunel University London ( email )

Kingston Lane
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
United Kingdom

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