Portrayals of Happiness

This section deals with the portrayals of happiness in movies, on TV, in different genres, in literature, in music, in commercials, on Facebook, etc. A paper might ask (but is not limited to) the following questions:

According to the portrayal, what makes us happy?

Does the depiction of happiness show only positive feelings or does it also show meaning?  In other words, what definition or understanding of happiness is implied in this portrayal of happiness?

How are images of happiness (or its absence) used to move the action forward or to elicit a desirable behavior, such as in advertising?

Is the portrayal gender, age, class, ethic group, etc., specific?  Do these specific portrayals intersect with ideology, class, ethnicity, patriarchy, racism? If so, how?

Is happiness used as a reward for a desirable behavior, as in a happy ending?

More generally:

How do portrayals of happiness that we are exposed to affect us? 

Do these portrayals vary with changing economic prosperity, political ideology, etc.? If so, how and why? 

Do media disseminate certain dominant images of happiness? What are those images? Are these portrayals misleading or helpful?

What is the role of a happy ending in movies?

Is there a correlation between our views of happiness and public triumph in certain movie genres, for example, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Do movie genres share a definition (an image, a representation, a portrayal) of happiness? 

It is sometimes customary to end a news report on a positive note. Why? Does this affect how facts are reported? 

How are the portrayals of happiness different in different historical periods and/or in different cultures? Why? How do these portrayals reflect/affect the cultures in which they occur? Why is there a particular portrayal at a particular time?  Whose interests does it serve? Are certain minority groups stereotyped with respect to happiness? How and why?

How is happiness (and its absence) used in advertising?

Do we have stereotypes of happiness, of happy people, and of happy groups? Where do they come from?  Whose interests do they serve? People usually stereotype others.  Is that so with happiness stereotypes as well?

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