Recipes for Happiness: A Social Networks Approach

Jose A. Rodriguez Diaz, Joseluis Condom Bosch, Alberto Martin Perez, Aitor Dominguez


As part of our research on the Happiness Industry as a social field, we have been looking into a key element in its cultural dimension. Many web pages offer tips and advices on how to reach happiness, often in the form of “prescriptions” and “recipes” using combinations of actions as combinations of ingredients. Surveying the web we have created a dataset centered on recipes and prescriptions to reach happiness. Along with the recipes themselves we collected information (later transformed into data) on organizational profiles associated to the web page (such as type of page, type of organization, activity sector, name, products and services offered, population targets), definitions of happiness and motivations to reach it, and systems of legitimation used to support the recipes (people, fields of knowledge). We use SNA to analyze and visualize the relational structure of meanings created by the recipes in order to try to identify differentiated cultural models. We are also interested in learning how the cultural matrix formed by the recipes might be linked to the social and organizational matrix formed by organizations and other actors involved in their production, dissemination and legitimation. The interrelation between both social spaces will be helpful offering a glimpse into how the roads to happiness are being designed and introduced into the main stream cultural system as well as how the cultural models might create or close opportunities for organizational forms and products and services.

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