A felicidade enquanto recurso emocional socialmente desigual. Para uma abordagem sociológica do sentir

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Traditionally, the analysis of feelings and emotions centres on individual singular experience and is beyond the scope of Sociology. We suggest that feelings and emotions are socially moulded and reflect social features. Therefor we need a sociological approach on the regularities of feeling, expressing and searching for happiness.
Through the analysis of the social and cultural characteristics that distinguish social practices, as well as happiness representations and expressions, it is our main goal to identify the social conditions that promote or restrict happiness perceptions. Specifically, we intend to place the analysis in the living conditions, as they are experienced by social actors, that provide the objective context for happiness perception’s.
We propose a methodological approach that joins different levels of study: the analysis of the expression of happiness (in a large and representative sample of the Portuguese, data from the European Social Survey - ESS); with the understanding of the meanings and social practices – within the social conditions in which they are produced – through data from a questionnaire designed specifically for this study. This research thus articulates different levels of observation, completing the macro data with a more intensive approach focused on specific social actors. The analysis is therefor differentiated for the whole country (data from ESS) and the Lisbon region (specifically collected for this study).
This research allowed to identify the social conditions that promote the perception of happiness, through the analysis of the distinctive features of socio-cultural practices, representations and expressions of happiness. Results show that happiness is produced under concrete circumstances, and for that reason some people will have greater ability to set the conditions of their happiness.
Our conclusions go beyond previous studies articulating results from the analysis of perceptions, meanings and social practices of happiness with the contexts in which they occur. It is clearly shown that perceptions, practices and meanings of the happiness felling have an unequal social distribution that tends to penalize weaker groups, such as women and the elderly, and therefore it is related to other forms of social inequality.
Original languagePortuguese
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Lisboa, Manuel, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2015
Place of PublicationLisbon
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2015


  • Sociologia
  • Felicidade
  • Emoções
  • Sentimentos

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