chapter  7
24 Pages

“Psytizens”, or the construction of happy individuals in neoliberal societies

ByEdgar Cabanas

Happiness has become part of a commonsensical discourse through which the neoliberal ideology of individualism is rekindled, legitimized, and institutionalized in seemingly non-ideological terms through the discourse of science. The academic fields of positive psychology and happiness economics are two of the authoritative sources which have most contributed to the diffusion and institutionalization of happiness in the fields of psychology, education, and politics since the 2000s. Interdependently, the field of happiness economics has exponentially grown since the mid 2000s. Happiness is currently a highly political concept, and it has been in Anglo-Saxon cultures since at least the advent of modernity. Since the mid 2000s, neoliberal societies have witnessed a "happiness turn", in which the imperative of happiness has become ubiquitous, permeating every layer of the social realm: from media to academia, and including the entertainment industry, school's systems, health institutions, corporations, public and private organizations, and popular literature.