State of Happiness Policy and Public Safety
This session deals with the two topics of happiness policy and public safety.
Happiness policy: In his influential book On Morals and Legislation (1789) Jeremy Bentham stated that the final aim of public policy should be to achieve greater happiness for a greater number of citizens. Though widely accepted among enlightened thinkers of his time, this idea remained mere theory, among other things because of lack of factual knowledge on conditions for happiness. Today there is renewed interest in happiness, and in the wake of the social indicator movement a body of empirical knowledge on happiness has developed. The aims of this session is to take stock of the development of happiness policy and to explore what social indicator research can add to happiness policy.
Public safety is an issue dominating public debate. Numerous recent violent incidents with a political or religious justification, like the shooting in the Jewish museum in Brussels, or the killing of journalists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, but also the threats of terrorist attacks, might have affected many European citizens’ feelings of safety in the public space. As it seems, the aspect of public safety has been underestimated as a dimension of well-being, both for individual citizens and for society as a whole. This session explores objective and subjective measures of public safety, addresses the importance of public safety for individual and collective well-being (or quality of life) and analyses the situation of public safety within and across societies.