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The Promise of Happiness
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The Promise of Happiness

by Sara Ahmed
 

ISBN-10: 0822347253

ISBN-13: 9780822347255

Pub. Date: 04/06/2010

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative to be happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our own happiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to be happy” “I'm happy if you're happy” Combining philosophy and feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the

Overview

The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative to be happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our own happiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to be happy” “I'm happy if you're happy” Combining philosophy and feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the affective and moral work performed by the “happiness duty” the expectation that we will be made happy by taking part in the which is deemed good, and that by being happy ourselves, we will make others happy. Ahmed maintains that happiness is a promise that directs us toward certain life choices and away from others. Happiness is promise that directs us toward certain life choices and away from others. Happiness is promised to those willing to live their lives in the right way

Ahmed draws on the intellectual history of happiness, from classical accounts of ethics as the good life, through seventeenth-century writings on affect and the passions, eighteenth-century debates on virtue and education, and nineteenth-century utilitarianism. She engages with feminist, antiracist, and queer critics who have shown how happiness is used to justify social oppression, and how challenging oppression causes unhappiness. Reading novels and films including Mrs. Dalloway, The Well of Loneliness, Bend It Like Beckham, and Children of Men, Ahmed considers the plight of the figures who challenge and are challenged by the attribution of happiness to particular objects or social ideals; the feminist killjoy, the unhappy queer, the angry black woman, and the melancholic migrant. Through her readings she raises critical questions about the moral order imposed by the injunction to be happy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822347255
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
04/06/2010
Pages:
315
Sales rank:
289,381
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Why Happiness, Why Now? 1

1 Happy Objects 21

2 Feminist Killjoys 50

3 Unhappy Queers 88

4 Melancholic Migrants 121

5 Happy Futures 160

Conclusion: Happiness, Ethics, Possibility 199

Notes 225

References 283

Index 30

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