The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible

Living Edition
| Editors: Vlad Petre Glăveanu (Editor-in-Chief), Vlad Petre Glăveanu


Living reference work entry


This entry proposes a sociocultural approach to wishes and wish-making, distinct from existing psychoanalytical and cognitive discussions of this phenomenon. It considers wish-making as part and parcel of everyday life and one of the main ways we have to engage with the future and attempt to construct it according to our needs and desires. Wishes are not signs of intrinsic irrationality, nor markers of pathological functioning; instead, they are embedded in human action and connect us to the possible, to others, and to the world. The entry starts by reviewing research into different types of wishes before considering in more detail theories and studies of wish-fulfilment and wishful thinking. It concludes with a reinterpretation of wishes as having their own scope, rationality, and as being intrinsically related to the ethical.


Wish Wish fulfilment Wishful-thinking Sociocultural psychology Possibility 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and CounselingWebster University GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Center for the Science of Learning and Technology (SLATE), University of BergenBergenNorway

Section editors and affiliations

  • Serena Mastria
    • 1
  1. 1.Marconi Institute for Creativity (MIC) LabUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly