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The Promise of Happiness Paperback – 6 Apr 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0822347255 ISBN-10: 0822347253

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Review

"At a time when happiness studies are all the rage and feminism is accused of destroying women's happiness, Sara Ahmed offers a bold critique of the consensus that happiness is an unconditional good. Her new book asks searching questions about the nature of the good life, making its case in a wonderfully pellucid prose. What a paradox that a defense of the kill-joy should be such a pleasure to read! This timely, original, and intellectually expansive book is sure to trigger a great deal of debate."--Rita Felski, University of Virginia

"What could be more naturalized and less subject to ideological critique than happiness? How are we to get critical perspective on it? Through her readings of texts and films, Sara Ahmed shows how this might work. By revealing the complexity and ambivalence of happiness, she intervenes in several fields--including queer and feminist theory, affect studies, and critical race theory--in a genuinely new and exciting way."--Heather K. Love, author of Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History

"The Promise of Happiness is richly valuable not only for its discussion of utilitarianism but also for its broader deconstruction of the workings of happiness in a range of works of philosophy, literature, and social science. Whereas other feminist theorists also occasionally cast a critical eye toward happiness, or raise consciousness of female unhappiness, Ahmed has produced a volume that is unparalleled in its sustained and extensive expose´ of the entanglements between discourses of happiness and oppression."--Andrea Veltman "Hypatia "

." . . [F]ascinating and important, both in showing us how to read some key
texts differently and in showing how to think more carefully about happiness
and its politics. . . . [T]here is a perverse happiness to be taken from reading
such an interesting book about the insufficiency of happiness." - Richard Ashcroft, Textual Practice

"
The Promise of Happiness is richly valuable not only for its discussion of utilitarianism but also for its broader deconstruction of the workings of happiness in a range of works of philosophy, literature, and social science. Whereas other feminist theorists also occasionally cast a critical eye toward happiness, or raise consciousness of female unhappiness, Ahmed has produced a volume that is unparalleled in its sustained and extensive expose´ of the entanglements between discourses of happiness and oppression." - Andrea Veltman, Hypatia

"Fascinating and important, both in showing us how to read some key texts differently and in showing how to think more carefully about happiness and its politics. . . . [T]here is a perverse happiness to be taken from reading such an interesting book about the insufficiency of happiness."--Richard Ashcroft "Textual Practice "

"The Promise of Happiness bridges philosophy and cultural studies, phenomenology and feminist thought--providing a fresh and incisive approach to some of the most urgent contemporary feminist issues. Ahmed navigates this bridge with a voice both clear and warm to convey ideas that are as complex as they are intimate and accessible. Her treatment of affect as a phenomenological project provides feminist theorists a way out of mind-body divides without reverting to essentialisms, enabling Ahmed to attend to intersectional and global power relations with acuity and originality."--Aimee Carrillo Rowe "Signs "

"Ahmed's language is a joy, and her work on each case study is filled with insight and rigor as she doggedly traces the social networks of dominance concealed and congealed around happiness. . . . The Promise of Happiness is an important intervention in affect studies that crucially approaches one of the major assumptions guiding social life: the assumption that we need to be happy."--Sean Grattan "Social Text "

"Ahmed enhances feminism's critical toolbox by guiding us to regard affect as a cipher for society as we track how it produces and is produced by politics. ... Ahmed draws on feminism to potentially enhance the quality of life for her readers, who are offered mindful practices of relinquishing attachment to various ideals in a text that is neither Pollyannaish nor depressing."--Naomi Greyser "Feminist Studies "

"Ahmed's analyses are spot-on and provocative. . . . Ahmed's analysis of this and other topics is unpredictable and engaging."--Heather Seggel "The Gay & Lesbian Review "

From the Back Cover

"At a time when happiness studies are all the rage and feminism is accused of destroying women's happiness, Sara Ahmed offers a bold critique of the consensus that happiness is an unconditional good. Her new book asks searching questions about the nature of the good life, making its case in a wonderfully pellucid prose. What a paradox that a defense of the kill-joy should be such a pleasure to read! This timely, original, and intellectually expansive book is sure to trigger a great deal of debate."--Rita Felski, University of Virginia

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