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The happiness turn? Mapping the emergence of “happiness studies” using cited references

Journal article
Authors Christopher Kullenberg
Gustaf Nelhans
Published in Scientometrics
Volume 103
Issue 2
Pages 615-630
ISSN 0138-9130
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 615-630
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1536-...
https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/154724
Keywords Happiness studies, Cited references, Bibliographic coupling, Multidisciplinary, Citation analysis
Subject categories Theory of science

Abstract

This article analyzes “happiness studies” as an emerging field of inquiry throughout various scientific disciplines and research areas. Utilizing four operationalized search terms in the Web of Science; “happiness”, “subjective well-being”, “life satisfaction” and “positive affect”, a dataset was created for empirical citation analysis. Combined with qualitative interpretations of the publications, our results show how happiness studies has developed over time, in what journals the citing papers have been published, and which authors and researchers are the most productive within this set. We also trace various trends in happiness studies, such as the social indicators movement, the introduction of positive psychology and various medical and clinical applications of happiness studies. We conclude that “happiness studies” has emerged in many different disciplinary contexts and progressively been integrated and standardized. Moreover, beginning at the turn of the millennium, happiness studies has even begun to shape an autonomous field of inquiry, in which happiness becomes a key research problem for itself. Thus, rather than speaking of a distinct “happiness turn”, our study shows that there have been many heterogeneous turns to happiness, departing in a number of different disciplines.

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