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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!
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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)!