The Promise of Happiness
Author/Editor:    Ahmed, Sara.
Publisher:    Duke University Press
Binding:    pbk.
Physical Media:    book
Pages:    328
Pubn Year:    2010
Price (ARP): $52.95
Price (NZ RRP): $48.14 AUD ex GST
Discount Code: A3 Firm Sale

ISBN:   9780822347255
ISBN10:   0822347253

9780822346661 hbk. book
9780822392781 EBL Non Linear ebook
9780822392781 Ebrary SUPO ebook

Description: The Promise of Happiness is a provocative cultural critique of the imperative tobe happy. It asks what follows when we make our desires and even our ownhappiness conditional on the happiness of others: “I just want you to behappy”; “I’m happy if you’re happy.” Combining philosophyand feminist cultural studies, Sara Ahmed reveals the affective and moral workperformed by the “happiness duty,” the expectation that we will be madehappy by taking part in that which is deemed good, and that by being happyourselves, we will make others happy. Ahmed maintains that happiness is apromise 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 ofethics as the good life, through seventeenth-century writings on affect and thepassions, eighteenth-century debates on virtue and education, andnineteenth-century utilitarianism. She engages with feminist, antiracist, andqueer critics who have shown how happiness is used to justify social oppression,and how challenging oppression causes unhappiness. Reading novels and filmsincluding Mrs. Dalloway, The Well of Loneliness, Bend It Like Beckham, andChildren of Men, Ahmed considers the plight of the figures who challenge and arechallenged by the attribution of happiness to particular objects or socialideals: the feminist killjoy, the unhappy queer, the angry black woman, and themelancholic migrant. Through her readings she raises critical questions aboutthe moral order imposed by the injunction to be happy.

Contents: Acknowledgments ixIntroduction: Why Happiness, Why Now? 11. Happy Objects 212. Feminist Killjoys 503. Unhappy Queers 884. Melancholic Migrants 1215. Happy Futures 160Conclusion: Happiness, Ethics, Possibility 199Notes 225References 283Index 301