Will Davies (Goldsmiths)
Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge)
This seminar will bring together William Davies and Anna Alexandrova to triangulate between three themes they have both worked on: a) tensions between well-being and economic indicators in the rise of happiness economics, b) the particularity (and ambiguity) of emerging conceptions of ‘well-being’ and c) contemporary challenges to expertise.
Within this, the speakers will focus on particular strands. Anna will discuss how well-being science takes many forms, but that promoted by Clark et al in their recent report and book ‘Origins of Happiness’ is striking for its simplistic definition of well-being and implausible mechanical vision of causality. Meanwhile, William will consider how emerging digital methods of happiness science seem to have a bias towards positivity. Feedback is increasingly in terms of whether or not someone expressed positive affect, and not about quantities of hedonia or negative affect. However, this is tied up with the problem of how to capture affect in real-time, and what kind of knowledge is being produced in these processes.
Will Davies is a Reader in Political Economy at Goldsmiths. His work explores the way in which economics influences our understanding of politics, society and ourselves. He is author of three monographs: The Happiness Industry: How the government & big business sold us wellbeing (2015), The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, sovereignty & the logic of competition (2014) and Nervous States: How feeling took over the world (2018).
Anna Alexandrova is a Reader in Philosophy of Science in Cambridge and Principle Investigator of the Expertise Under Pressure project at CRASSH. She has written extensively on the philosophy of wellbeing and of economics, and is author of the monograph A Philosophy for the Science of Well-being (2017).
The seminar is free and open to all. However, it will run for the full time from 12-2pm, so please arrive promptly to ensure a seat.
No registration required
Part of The Politics of Economics Research Network Series
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