I’m Dr Will Davies, Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at
Goldsmiths. I research how ‘happiness’ has become an obsession for
governments and businesses, helping to shape public policy, marketing
and management. AMA!
Hi Reddit, My background is in sociology, but I have always wanted to
understand how other disciplines view the world and shape our thinking.
My first book, The Limits of Neoliberalism, traced how the ideas of
Chicago School economists transformed how markets are regulated by law,
and how ideas of Harvard Business School strategists transformed how we
understand political leadership. My recent book, The Happiness Industry,
outlines a critical history of attempts to measure and optimise our
subjective feelings (emotions), from Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th
century through to the latest practices in ‘neuro-marketing’ and twitter
‘sentiment analysis’. I’ve written for various publications, including
The Atlantic, Salon.com, The Financial Times and The New York Times.
Before becoming an academic, I worked in policy think tanks, where I
first became interested in how experts are influenced by the social
sciences. I am currently director of the Political Economy Research
Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. This AMA has now ended.
Thanks very much for all of your excellent questions, and your interest
in my work. Stay happy(ish)!