Lykke som politisk projekt: Happiness as a political project

Katrine Amalie Keller, Michael Würtz, Kathrine Jesting, Arendse Bové Illum, Morten Hoffmann Jacobsen, Mia Husum Schmidt & Max Emil Tænner

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


A critical reflection of the term GDP as the main success indicator for a nation will take place in this project. It will be studied to which extend it is necessary and possible to set a globally comparable measuring index concerning the term happiness as supplement to GDP. This Index will have to capture the perceptions of the good society on a national as well as on the international level. An investigation of the possibilities for an introduction of such an index in Denmark leads to a discussion whether happiness is a private or public issue. This project uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and uses multiple disciplines from the social sciences in order to view the problem from different perspectives. Qualitative elite interviews have been undertaken. Primarily our empirical material have been analyzed using the analytical-inductive method. Statistics concerning economic circumstances in relation to our project are involved as well. Whether a global measuring index for happiness is necessary will be analyzed using the “Easterlin Paradox” phrased by economist Richard Easterlin which describes the connection between happiness and economic growth. Further light will be shed on the matter using the social theories of Jûrgen Habermas. In relation to the possibility of measuring happiness, four existing and measuring indexes which represents different notions of happiness will undergo a comparative analysis. Different cultural, religious and historical theories of happiness will be described. These will be compared to the report “Dragørs Lykkeregnskab 2013” to gain insights in how a global measuring index could manifest itself in Denmark on a national scale. Interviews with two Danish politicians as well as two propositions from the party Enhedslisten will be used in regard to this. The negotiations of these two suggestions are analyzed to form a view of what Danish politicians think about institutionalized measurements of happiness. For the discussion about whether happiness is a public or privat issue, the social theories of the sociologist Jürgen Habermas is used. Furthermore we analyze the reasons underlying measurements of happiness in Denmark, through the report ”Der er et lykkeligt land”. We use psychologist Abraham Maslows theory ”Maslows Hierachy of Needs” to understand these reasons. We conclude that there exists a necessity for the inclusion of measurements of happiness as a supplement to GDP. GDP merely reflects economic growth, which is why many social and political aspects are lost when only focusing on market activity. Despite this, happiness cannot be seen independently from economy. The overall condition is that the basic human needs have to be covered, as seen from ”Maslows Hierachy of Needs”. The discussion of whether it is a private or public issue depends on one has a hedonistic or eudaimonic understanding of happiness, as the hedonistic view is hard to institutionalize. It is also concluded that policies based on measurements of happiness can create a reaction to the Systems colonization of the Lifeworld. But this can also be seen as systemizing the Lifeworld. The conclusion is that a global index of happiness can be used on a national scale in Denmark. Overall it is possible to measure happiness in its eudaimonic understanding across cultural borders as a supplement to GDP.

UddannelserBasis - Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato2 jun. 2014
VejledereHenrik Søborg


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