Exploring the Concept and Practices of Felicitas Publica at Lisbon University: A Community-Based Relational Approach to Well-being

  • Helena Àgueda MarujoEmail author
  • Luis Miguel Neto
Part of the Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being book series (CQLWB)


This chapter explores a collaborative action-research project, whose aim was to generate new knowledge about well-being and happiness in higher education, which might result in improved outcomes for the school communities. The discussion draws upon data from a study conducted across 10 Schools of the biggest Portuguese University—Universidade de Lisboa. The views and perspectives of 109 participants (students, teachers, chancellors and staff) have been sought through Focus-Group interviews, using the World Café methodology to engage and connect participants in conversation, and Appreciative Inquiry to construct meaningful and transformative questions. The study had multiple aims: to generate a genuine, collaborative and positive dialogic environment; to promote a sense of community through relational goods; to co-create a novel consciousness on the past and future of the collective and relational happiness processes inside these communities; to investigate the topic, in contributing with action-research methods; and to provide a framework for the science and application of well-being at the university level. Conversations addressed how each school and domain of science enrolled (Law, Humanities, Medicine, Social and Political Sciences, Physical Exercise and Human Movement, Dental Medicine, Agronomy, Architecture, Design and Arts, and Biology), defined Public Happiness, how the school members consider that they are promoting Public Happiness in everyday life, and how it can be developed and put into practice in the near future inside and outside every school community. Five major themes emerged in the images and written accounts across all school cohorts, associated with well-being, specifically concerning (1) quality of relationships; (2) school identity; (3) presence of virtuousness of the individuals and the community; (4) the vocation to learn and teach; and (5) contributions to the common good. Proposals for the enhancement of well-being in higher education through a community-based approach are discussed, in particular since such findings highlight the potential of more relational, democratic, reciprocate, virtuous and participatory approaches, beyond and besides academic learning.


Felicitas Publica Community well-being Appreciative inquiry Relational goods World Café Well-being University Action-research 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas—ISCSPCentro de Investigação e Políticas Públicas—CAPP. ISCSP Well-being—ISCSPLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Lisbon UniversityLisbonPortugal

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