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Happiness in things? Plebeian experiences of chattel ‘property’ in the long eighteenth century

Happiness in things? Plebeian experiences of chattel ‘property’ in the long eighteenth century

Pennell, Sara (2017) Happiness in things? Plebeian experiences of chattel ‘property’ in the long eighteenth century. Suffering and Happiness in England 1550-1850: Narratives and Representations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 208-226. ISBN 9780198748267 (In Press)

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Abstract

In our current turbulent economic and political climate, the promise of happiness in things which once seemed so certain, rings hollow. The September 2013 UN supported World Happiness Report wellbeing indices weighed up the relative contributions made by enjoyment of things against the pleasure delivered through experiences and the sense of well-being deriving from physical good health. Social scientists have argued that, while happiness can be found in and through stuff, experiential ‘purchases’ offer up no less promise of pleasure and satisfaction: a great meal trumps an effective kitchen gadget, for example. We moderns have invested heavily in the promise of things as a rich source of emotional satisfaction; but we also experience through them myriad dissatisfactions and indeed unhappiness: we are the ‘affluenza’-afflicted society, after all.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distress, Distraint, Happiness, Consumption, Property, Possessions, Chattels, Security, England, Eighteenth-century
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > History Research Group (HRG)
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2017 17:54
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/16732

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