Guest editor: David Bartram, University of
JSR&P invites original paper
submissions for a special issue on Migration
and Happiness, to bring together papers exploring the intersection of two
topics that feature very prominently in public discourse and debates.
Happiness – long a topic of
interdisciplinary scholarly efforts among social scientists – has now become a
matter of significant interest for public policy-makers as well. Senior figures in the British government, for
example, convene regular meetings of a “Whitehall Well-Being Working Group” to
consider happiness dimensions of public policy, and French president Nikolas
Sarkozy in 2009 commissioned a report on happiness in France from two
Research on happiness (and the
closely related topic of life satisfaction) is particularly innovative in its
rejection of a core premise of modern economics: “revealed preferences”. Instead of assuming that people are better
off in “objective” ways e.g. for having higher incomes – and that we can know
this via observation of choices and behaviour – happiness studies focuses on
the subjective dimension of
well-being. In place of economists’
axioms regarding utility, then, happiness researchers address an empirical
question: what are the choices, actions and characteristics that bring
There is significant scope for
revisiting a number of core issues in research on migration via consideration rooted
in a happiness studies perspective. Examples
of questions might include:
- Under what conditions do immigrants of various types end up
achieving higher levels of happiness?
- In particular, does greater integration (however conceived)
lead to greater happiness?
- Do certain types of government/policy approaches regarding
immigrants lead to greater happiness, and do other approaches inhibit
- What are the happiness consequences of immigration for
natives? Some researchers (as well
as politicians and activists) worry particularly about the challenge to
national identity believed to follow from immigration; does that challenge
find expression in lower happiness among natives?
- To what extent is it legitimate to consider happiness
consequences (both for immigrants and for natives) in ethical discussions
about migration policies? For
example, if it were established that immigration leads to decreased
happiness among natives, what consideration (if any) ought to be given to
a finding of that sort in determination of immigration control/management
policies? Observers are divided as
to the legitimacy of taking economic consequences for natives into account
in ethical discussions of this sort – does shifting the focus to happiness
consequences help resolve this type of dispute?
- What are the methodological challenges that arise in researching
happiness in relation to migration, and how might those challenges be
- Again on methodological issues – are there any special
measurement issues that arise in regard to immigrants? Happiness researchers have given
extensive consideration to cross-cultural issues regarding survey
questions. What additional
considerations might come into play for those who themselves move across
This list is merely indicative
and other ways of making the connection are welcome.
submissions will be peer reviewed. For
guidelines on manuscript preparation and submission, please visit the journal website.
Please address any inquiries to David Bartram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 31 August 2011