PCA/ACA

Happiness and Culture—Special Topic 2023

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We are seeking paper proposals for the 2023 PCA conference in San Antonio. The papers may focus on any aspect of the relationship between happiness (tentatively understood as subjective well-being) and broadly defined popular culture.

Philosophers and scholars have long argued that humans seek happiness above all else. You can get us to do, buy, create, accomplish, watch, or attend almost anything if the promised payoff is happiness. This makes the desire for happiness one of the most significant motivating forces in any culture.

While this desire is universally human, beliefs and attitudes about happiness (including if we have a right to expect it at all and how to go about pursuing it if we do) vary with changing religious views, economic conditions, historical periods, geographic locations, and other factors. That is, both group and individual attitudes and beliefs about happiness are partly shaped by the culture/country/time period in which we live.

Our topic explores the role that culture and its products and institutions (such as popular arts and rituals, social and other media, advertising, education, economic trends, and dominant scientific paradigms) play in constructing and/or popularizing different definitions of happiness and how best to pursue it. 

Does the most commonly suggested path to happiness really lead to happiness? That is a million-dollar question. Some psychologists argue that, at least in many Western societies, it does not.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

-   Portrayals of happiness in popular books, movies, comic books, songs, and advertising; on dating apps and how-to websites; at sporting events and holiday celebrations. What definitions of happiness do these portrayals imply? What path to happiness do they propose? Does the proposed path really lead to happiness?

- The relationship between a character’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class and portrayals of happiness.

- Portrayals of happiness that promote particular beliefs and values. For example, when characters find happiness if they engage in socially approved behaviors, such as monogamous marriage, hard work, and purchasing a home; when oppressed people are portrayed as happy to justify the oppression; or when a character who makes a choice that diverges from a group’s dominant norms is depicted as miserable or meets a tragic end.

- Happiness-causing properties of popular genres and products, such as romantic comedies, sitcoms, video games, and meditation apps. Why do these genres and products make us feel good?  What definitions of happiness do they imply? What beliefs and values do they embody?

- The science of happiness. What does scientific research tell us about happiness?  Do scientific findings correlate with cultural beliefs about (and popular portrayals of) happiness? Why or why not?

- Compare/contrast portrayals of happiness in different historical periods. For example, are the causes of women’s happiness portrayed differently in mainstream romantic comedies today than in the 1950s? 

- Compare/contrast beliefs about (portrayals of) happiness in different cultures/countries.

- Compare/contrast portrayals of happiness in different popular genres, such as action/adventure movies, TV dramas, or romance novels. Do these portrayals differ? If so, why?

-   The relationship between the prevailing ideas about (portrayals of) happiness and the economic conditions in the country.

-   The relationship between the prevailing ideas about (portrayals of) happiness and the dominant values and beliefs.

For additional information and paper ideas, please visit www.happinessandculture.com.

We especially welcome papers from members of ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and immigrant communities, as well as from the members of non-mainstream, alternative cultures.

We are considering proposals for individual papers and/or complete panels.  Sessions are scheduled in 1.5-hour slots, typically with four papers or speakers per standard session.  Individual presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.  Please submit a 100–150-word abstract for individual papers and/or a 250–300-word abstract for panels.  Please include the title of the paper and/or panel. Working professionals, scholars, educators, and graduate students are all encouraged to submit.

Area Chairs:

Vida Penezic

Independent Scholar

E-mail:  [email protected]

www.vidapenezic.com

www.happinessandculture.com

 

 

2023 Conference Dates and Deadlines

15 Aug-22                                            2022 Conference Information Available on Website
15 Sept-22 Submissions Open 
07 Oct-22 Early Bird Registration Begins
10 Jan-23 Deadline for Paper Proposals
4 Jan-23 Early Bird Registration Ends for Presenters
5 Jan-23 Regular Registration Begins for Presenters
19 Jan-23 Regular Registration Ends for Presenters
20 Jan-23 Late Registration Starts for Presenters
1 Feb-23 Late Registration Ends for Presenters; Those Presenters Not Registered by the Date Will be Dropped From the Program; Registration Continues for Nonpresenters
10 Feb-23 Preliminary Schedule Available
17 Mar-23 Registration Ends for Nonpresenters
 5-8 April-23

conference in San ANTONIO, TX

 

All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and registered for the conference. Non-presenters who attend the full conference must also pay membership fees.

To attend the National Conference, members must pay the membership fee and the registration fee. Membership fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

 

Submit a Paper Proposal for the 2023 PCA Conference: 

Submissions for paper proposals are now open. The submission deadline is December 20, 2022. Please be sure you read and understand all instructions, policies, and procedures before you submit your proposal. 

 

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