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Who are we smiling for? Three contradictions of the happiness and wellbeing agenda in community practice

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http://concept.lib.ed.ac.uk/index.php/Concept/article/view/303
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalConcept - The Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory
Volume7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Abstract

This article is intended as a critical intervention into the happiness and wellbeing agenda in community practice. Although our reflections are influenced by the Scottish context they are not solely informed by it, since the rise of the happiness and wellbeing industry and its relationship to neoliberalism is clearly a phenomenon of wider relevance (e.g. Davies 2014; Ehrenreich 2009). As co-authors, our different starting points led us to a dialogue on the relationship between the rise of happiness and wellbeing discourse and the decline of critique. What emerged from this was the identification of three contradictions shaping the happiness and wellbeing agenda. We outline them here in the hope that it provides a framework to think through what is at stake for community workers with an interest in critical pedagogies.

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