Difference Festival

This is part of the Difference Festival 2020 which is co-organised with the Contemporary China Centre, University of Westminster.

This talk will question the seemingly universally accepted notion that we should all strive to be as happy as possible, that negative feelings are to be banished, and that individuals need to work on a positive outlook.

We will start with some background information on the rise of happiness studies and world happiness reports. This will set the scene to question how reliable such statistics actually are and why they have become so popular. We will then look at different views on happiness from different cultures and civilisations across the world - not all of which idealise happiness.

The talk, which will be delivered jointly with students on Professor Wielander’s module “Concepts of Happiness Across Cultures”, will stimulate the audience to think critically about the “happiness imperative”, but jointly we will also try to work out common denominators on happiness across cultures.

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.


University of Westminster, Boardroom 117, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW