Developing a Biographical Approach to Happiness and Wellbeing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses qualitative research into the biographies of wellbeing. It draws on a definition of happiness that suggests wellbeing is a collaborative practice and illustrates the methods used to map the life histories of interviewees and their webs of relationships. Two biographies of women reveal narratives that suggest patterns of wellbeing emerging from social networks structured through class and gender relationships. Early life events and the women’s creativity and resourcefulness point to the significance of biographies for an understanding of wellbeing across the life course. The chapter employs concepts from Bourdieu to analyse the structuring of wellbeing and how people’s interpretations and actions informed the quality of their lives showing the ebb and flow of happiness as people age.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching Happiness
Subtitle of host publicationQualitative, Biographical and Critical Perspectives
EditorsMark Cieslik
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBristol University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781529206166
ISBN (Print)9781529206128, 9781529206135
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


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