Welcome to Happiness and Culture,

a Special Topic at the

Popular Culture Association (PCA) National Conference

Boston, MA

June 2 – 5, 2021

(Please note the date change. Originally scheduled for March 31 to April 3, 2021, due to COVID concerns the conference will take place June 2-5, 2021.)

Good news! The PCA National Conference in Boston will have a virtual component. During these COVID times, it is difficult to commit to travel plans months in advance. The possibility of a virtual participation may facilitate your decision to submit a proposal. If you have any questions, please visit or contact Vida at


This website accompanies the Call for Papers, issued by the Special Topic Happiness and Culture, to be presented at the National PCA Conference in Boston, MA. Paper proposals are due January 6, 2021. (See Call for Papers)

Happiness and Culture is a new area of interdisciplinary research focusing on the relationship between happiness (understood as subjective wellbeing) and broadly defined popular culture.

Building on findings of psychologists, neuroscientists, and economists (for example, that to be happy people need both positive emotions and a sense that their life has a purpose), we explore the impact that human desire for happiness has on cultural products and practices, including the relevant cultural institutions and industries.

Conversely, we are interested in the role that culture and its systems and institutions (such as, beliefs, values, ideologies, popular arts, popular rituals, education, economic trends and attitudes, dominant scientific paradigms, social media, and advertising) play in constructing and/or popularizing different definitions, experiences, and theories of happiness and how best to pursue it.

In 2021 the topic will appear among the PCA/ACA National Conference subject areas for the first time.

While primarily designed to assist those wishing to submit a paper proposal, the website will also be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the topic.

What You Will Find Here

Among other pertinent materials, you will find the background information about the topic, the key concepts, the names of leading scholars, the academic fields that study it, as well as a wide range of exciting ideas for paper topics.

 For more information about the PCA and the conference or to submit a proposal please visit

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist you.

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with Happiness and Culture, please use the form below.

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