The Happiness Fantasy
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The Happiness Fantasy

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Happiness has meant different things in different times: according to Aristotle, only the gods could be truly happy, but if you lived ethically, you might come close; for medieval Christians, the best way to be happy was to suffer pain and for Romantic philosophers like Rousseau, society made happiness impossible. But what does it mean to be happy today? In this devastatingly witty new book, Carl Cederstrom traces our present-day fantasy of happiness from its roots in the 60's counter-culture. He argues that happiness is now defined by a desire to be 'authentic', to experience physical pleasure, and to cultivate one's 'brand' as an employee. Along the way we encounter the renegade Austrian psychoanalysts, Big Pharma, Californian bohemians, self-help gurus and Silicon Valley CEOs who have all contributed to our current fantasy. Whilst these ideals may have depicted the good life in the 70s, a time of affluence and abundance, they are no longer sustainable in our current age of austerity. It is high time, Cederstrom argues, that we construct new fantasies of happiness.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 140 x 215 x 14mm | 238g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 1509523812
  • 9781509523818
  • 14,477

Table of contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
1 The Birth of the Happiness Fantasy: In Bed with Wilhelm Reich
2 Compulsory Narcissism: Happiness in an Age of Precariousness
3 Happiness Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of the Happiness Fantasy
4 Happiness Drugs: From Space-Age Mysticism to Productivity Enhancement
5 Pleasure: A Distinctly Male Fantasy
Conclusion: Happiness after Trump
Notes
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Review Text

"Happiness is big business - and big politics - these days. But as Cederstrom shows in this sharp and engaging book, its recent history can be disturbing. Combining humor with a much-needed skepticism, he shows that in a world of happiness, not all is smiles."
Darrin M. McMahon, author of Happiness: A History

"In this lively and acerbic book, Carl Cederstrom provides a compelling history of how a particular psychoanalytic ideal of happiness sucked us in, promising total fulfillment but ultimately trapping us in a lie."
Will Davies, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Pleasure was at the heart of the liberation struggles of the 1960s' but has morphed into a new form of ideology and tyranny, fed by the capitalist logic of incessant consumption. The happy self is not only a fantasy, an imperative to fulfill our potential, but also the impulse behind a wide variety of economic enterprises, orgasmic workshops, drugs, therapies, etc. Cedertrom's The Happiness Fantasy is a well-written, lively, and critical study of the fantasy that has wormed inside the core of our culture."
Eva Illouz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"A wonderful piece of work."
Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research

"With compelling clarity, wit and wisdom, Carl Cederström cuts through the disabling illusions ceaselessly promoting the personal pursuit of happiness, offering instead an altogether richer, more compassionate, embrace of life and its vicissitudes."
Lynne Segal, author of Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy
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Review quote

"Happiness is big business - and big politics - these days. But as Cederstrom shows in this sharp and engaging book, its recent history can be disturbing. Combining humor with a much-needed skepticism, he shows that in a world of happiness, not all is smiles."
Darrin M. McMahon, author of Happiness: A History

"In this lively and acerbic book, Carl Cederstrom provides a compelling history of how a particular psychoanalytic ideal of happiness sucked us in, promising total fulfillment but ultimately trapping us in a lie."
Will Davies, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Pleasure was at the heart of the liberation struggles of the 1960s' but has morphed into a new form of ideology and tyranny, fed by the capitalist logic of incessant consumption. The happy self is not only a fantasy, an imperative to fulfill our potential, but also the impulse behind a wide variety of economic enterprises, orgasmic workshops, drugs, therapies, etc. Cedertrom's The Happiness Fantasy is a well-written, lively, and critical study of the fantasy that has wormed inside the core of our culture."
Eva Illouz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"A wonderful piece of work."
Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research

"With compelling clarity, wit and wisdom, Carl Cederstr m cuts through the disabling illusions ceaselessly promoting the personal pursuit of happiness, offering instead an altogether richer, more compassionate, embrace of life and its vicissitudes."
Lynne Segal, author of Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy
show more

About Carl Cederstrom

Carl Cederstrom is Assistant Professor at Stockholm University
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Rating details

3 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 33% (1)
3 67% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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