Happiness 2nd Global Meeting: The Happiness Project

Robert Fisher Announcement
Subject Fields
Anthropology, Cultural History / Studies, Psychology, Philosophy

2nd Global Meeting: The Happiness Project

Call for Presentations

Monday 14th March –Wednesday 16th March 2016
Budapest, Hungary


‘Happiness is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world’, said Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics. We all want to be happy. The right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ are held as inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, while Bhutan measures its ‘Gross National Happiness’. But what exactly is happiness? Psychological, philosophical, cultural, artistic, sociological, political, economic, scientific and theological perspectives all provide different answers.


Is it merely a subjective feeling of wellbeing that can be brought about by pleasurable experiences, or is there rather more to it than that? Is it to be found in drugs (prescription and illegal), alcohol, gambling, in sex, or in spiritual methods such as meditation? What light can neurological research shed on the concept of happiness? Does it correspond to living the Good Life, as the Greek philosophers believed; or is true happiness only possible in the afterlife, as some religious traditions maintain? In what ways is deferred gratification more problematic in our hectic postmodern age? What sorts of things can make us happy in our everyday life? Do possessions and status guarantee happiness? Ought we to aim for happiness directly, or will it come about naturally as a side effect of doing meaningful activities? What roles, if any, do entertainment, travel, sport, the arts, education, material success, hobbies, crafts and family have? In what ways are happiness and health – both physical and mental –related? How do literary and mass media depictions of happiness inform our view about what it is and how best to achieve it? Of what significance has the notion of happiness to business, politics and the law? How can happiness best be promoted, and unhappiness minimized? Is it reasonable to expect uninterrupted happiness? What is our responsibility towards those who are not happy? How can we personally add to the amount of happiness in the world? The Happiness interdisciplinary research and publishing stream seeks answers to these questions and more.


Because happiness (and the lack of it) is of such central importance to the human condition, it is of great interest to a number of disciplines and practices. The topic also provides a fertile ground for the intersection of theory and praxis. We want to provide access opportunities so that widest range of people with something to say about happiness can join in this conversation.


These might include: psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, medical professionals, addiction workers, pharmacologists, neuroscientists, philosophers, theologians, educationalists, parents, teachers, clergy, NGOs, social/welfare services, charities, politicians, political scientists, civil servants, cultural theorists, entertainers, performers, artists, sportspersons, hospitality industry professionals, PR and advertising professionals, retailers, economists, journalists, market researchers, business people, restaurateurs, and anyone else who has a contribution to make in understanding happiness.


As we explore the manifold aspects of the concept of happiness, we encourage participants to think outside the limits of their own discipline, and to explore the implications for practice of the theories and perspectives that they espouse. In better understanding happiness, we can become both personally happier, and have a role in raising the happiness levels of the communities of which we are a part. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘If you want others to be happy, practice compassion, if you want to be happy, practice compassion’.


The organizers welcome proposals for presentations, workshops, performances, installations, readings and pre-formed panels that explore the concept of happiness in ways that include, but are not limited to:


Definitions of Happiness


§  what is happiness?
§  theories of happiness: philosophical, theological, anthropological, sociological, psychological, political, economic, physiological
§  definitions of ‘The Good Life’
§  happiness and objective flourishing
§  happiness and subjective wellbeing
§  happiness, hedonism and thrill-seeking
§  happiness and peak experiences: ‘flow’; euphoria; epiphanies


Sources of Happiness


§  happiness and creativity
§  happiness and work
§  happiness and exercise
§  happiness and health
§  sport, entertainment, the arts, travel and happiness
§  happiness and craft skills
§  happiness and philanthropy/volunteering
§  happiness and culture
§  happiness and relationships
§  happiness and sex
§  happiness and self-efficacy
§  wealth, achievement and happiness
§  happiness amongst retirees, downsizers, slackademics
§  happiness and contentment
§  happy families
§  happiness in communities
§  happiness and spirituality
§  finding happiness in sadness


Depictions of Happiness


§  happiness in popular culture
§  happiness in traditional media: tv, film, theatre, print
§  happiness in social media and the Internet
§  literature, the arts and happiness


Wider Implications of Happiness


§  happy customers
§  law, public policy and happiness
§  structural inequalities that limit happiness
§  happiness and aging
§  historical and cultural forces that shape attitudes toward happiness


Engendering Happiness


§  promoting happiness
§  personal and political contributions
§  happiness and education
§  ‘happy pills’
§  the self-help industry
§  barriers to happiness
§  self-medication
§  happiness and addiction
§  unhappiness
§  therapeutic interventions to increase happiness


Further details and information can be found at the project web site:



Call for Cross-Over Presentations
The Happiness project will be meeting at the same time as a project on Health and another project on Fairy Tales. We welcome submissions which cross the divide between both project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.


What to Send
300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted by Friday 2nd October 2015.
All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.


You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 16th October 2015.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 5th February 2016.


Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:


a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Happiness Abstract Submission


Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to all Organising Chairs:


Organising Chairs:
Nancy Billias: nbillias@usj.edu
Seán Moran: sean@inter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher: happiness2@inter-disciplinary.net


This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research and publishing project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.


It is anticipated that a number of publishing options will arise from the work of the project generally and from the meeting of the Happiness stream in particular. Minimally there will be a digital eBook resulting from the conference meeting. Other options, some of which might include digital publications, paperbacks and a journal will be explored during and after the meeting itself.


Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation. Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


Contact Information

Dr. Rob Fisher

Priory House

149B Wroslyn Road

Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1993 882087

Fax: +44 (0)870 4601132

Contact Email