Critical Perspectives in Happiness Research

The Birth of Modern Happiness

  • Luka┬áZevnik

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. The Return to Happiness

  3. The Birth of Happiness

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 149-158

About this book


This book presents an interdisciplinary exploration of the origins of happiness in the modern Western culture and makes the argument that happiness is not universal but is instead a culturally and historically specific experience, characteristic only to the Western world. It begins with an overview of the main research approaches to happiness and then studies the important but elusive theme in the context of culture and relations of power. The second part of the book analyses the social, religious, ethical and political processes that lead to the emergence of the experience of happiness, including consumer culture in contemporary societies. It presents an analysis of the medieval Christian experience which concludes that the modern experience of happiness only emerged in the 17th and 18th century, when the ideal of human existence increasingly started to be pursued in the present life. In its conclusion, this book explores the concept of modernization as the collective pursuit of happiness.


Anthropology of Well-Being Art of Living Basic Parameters of Happiness Critical History of Happiness Cultural Construction of Happiness Cultural Neuroscience Culture and Relations Empirical Happiness Research Ethnocentrism and Happiness Eudaimonic Well-Being Foucault and Happiness Happiness Studies and Life Satisfaction Happiness and Consumer Culture Happiness and Culture Happiness and Medieval Theology Happiness and Pastoral Power Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Happiness Middle Ages and Happiness Neoroscience of Happiness Origins of Happiness in the Western Culture Positive Timeless Universal Experience Public and Communal Happiness Pursuit of Happiness Sin and Salvation The Birth of Modern Happiness Understanding of Happiness

Authors and affiliations

  • Luka┬áZevnik
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-04402-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-04403-3
  • About this book