University of Twente Student Theses


Geluk in de praktijk; een verkenning van het gebruik van concepten als geluk (happiness) in Nederlandse welzijnsprojecten

Peeters Weem, Bart (2011) Geluk in de praktijk; een verkenning van het gebruik van concepten als geluk (happiness) in Nederlandse welzijnsprojecten.

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Abstract:This study is about the use of the concept ‘happiness’, the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life favorably, in Dutch welfare services. It is a theoretical exploration of the use of concepts such as happiness in Dutch welfare projects and forms a thesis for the study Communication Studies at the University of Twente. The study comes forth from the development of the instrument ‘Happiness Route’ by the Arcon Foundation. The Happiness Route aims to (socially) reactivate people who live in social isolation. This study attempts to contribute to happiness-oriented work in general and to the spreading of the instrument Happiness Route in particular. The study uses a multiple-case study design to answer the main research question; In what manner do concepts like happiness play a role in social welfare projects in the Netherlands that are focused on activation and promoting self-strength? Through means of using a digital search engine, personal contacts and implementing the snowball method has been searched for projects which work with elements that are similar to the elements of the Happiness Route; Positive psychology/ happiness, activation, self-strength and nudging. Eight case studies have been selected: The Happiness budget Almelo; Kwartiermakers Zwolle; OpStap Budget, Amsterdam; Power, Enschede; Rechtop! Deventer; Sterrenvinder, Deventer; Stichting Verzorgd, Enschede; Tientjes, Breda. For each case study a topic-list-based interview took place with an associate of the project. This was complemented with available written sources. The results show a small number of innovative projects in the Netherlands which, to a certain extent, work with constructs like happiness. These are relatively young projects that need to manage themselves in their environment to prove their right to exist. The projects generally came to being through pragmatic insights. If there is a theoretical base, it isn’t directly formed to a working method. Terms like happiness of comparable concepts are rarely used. The element of luck in the projects is something implicit. It is only made operational when the question ‘what would you like?’ is asked, a question which can be found in all case study projects. This way it appears that the project associate who converses, the advisor (or consultant), determines the use and meaning of the happiness-concept. The study concludes that there are barely any or even no projects in the Netherlands that implement happiness in an explicit way. This may be due to the fact that the Dutch term for happiness, ‘geluk’, is quite vague. There seems to be a lack of a clear framework to use a concept like happiness. A more extensive overview of ingredients of happiness is proposed, that can lead to approaches to happiness-based interventions. It is recommended to play more attention to the role of the advisor (or consultant) of happiness projects, because it is he who in the end determines the execution of the happiness-based intervention. He also plays an important part in being the one who can implement the concept of nudging. The rapport concludes with recommendations to the case study-projects, the Happiness Route and possible follow up research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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