Well-being in Contemporary Society

International Conference on the Philosophy and Science of Well-being and their Practical Importance
Location:            University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Date:                   July 26-27, 2012
Program Chair:   Philip Brey (University of Twente)

Organising committee:    
    Johnny Hartz Søraker (University of Twente)
    Pak-Hang Wong (University of Twente)
    Jan-Willem van der Rijt (University of Amsterdam)
    Jelle de Boer (University of Amsterdam)

Keynote Speakers:
    Bruno S. Frey (Professor of Economics, University of Zurich)
    Valerie Tiberius (Professor of Philosophy, University of Minnesota)
    J. D. Trout (Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Loyola University Chicago)

Invited speakers:
    Paul Anand (Economics, Open University)
    Erik Angner (Philosophy, Economics and Public Policy, George Mason University)
    Ernst Bohlmeyer (Psychology, University of Twente)
    Bengt Brülde (Philosophy, University of Gothenburg)
    Jo Littler (Media and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University)
    Raffaele Rodogno (Philosophy, Aarhus University)
    Miriam Teschl (Economics, University of Vienna)
    Edward Spence (Philosophy, Charles Sturt University)

Latest News/Updates:
  • July 25: Some last-minute changes have been added to the program (ver. 7), which should now be definite. We have also added the (extended) abstracts of invited and submitted talks.
  • July 16: Due to a cancellation, the program has been updated -- primarily by adding some breathing room and a somewhat later start on Friday. Please click 'tentative schedule' in the menu to see the latest version.
  • May 24: The schedule has been updated, and should now be close to final. Early-bird registration deadline has passed.
  • May 2: The tentative schedule has been updated, including what we hope to be the definite start and ending times (pending last-minute cancellations). We expect to have a program complete with speakers and titles shortly.
  • April 24: Online registration and hotel room confirmation is now online. Early-bird deadline has been extended to May 15.
  • March 31: Online registration is now open (see link below)
  • March 27: We have finalized our budget and registration fees and expect to have the online registration up and running within a couple of days. All participants will receive an email with further details shortly.
  • March 22: The Web site has been updated. You can now find the information about accommodation, transport and Enschede here. You can also down the Time Plan for the conference. Information about registration will be updated soon.
  • March 11: We have completed our review process, and unfortunately we cannot accept any more submissions at this time. Please check our Web site again soon for updated information about venue, transport, registration and so forth.
Registration Fees

The registration fee includes lunch, coffee breaks and conference materials. Please register through our online registration system (the registration form still states May 1 as early-bird date, but the correct date should be May 15).

Students (incl. PhD students), Early-bird: € 40.00
Students (after May 15): € 60.00
Regular, Early-bird: € 60.00
Regular (after May 15): € 90.00
Conference dinner € 30.00

(We may be able to waive the registration fee under special circumstances. Please contact us at wics2012@utwente.nl if you would like to inquire about this)


Accommodation has been reserved for the workshop participants in the three-star conference hotel the Drienerburght, which is also the conference venue, at the following prices:

Single room incl. breakfast          74,50      per room per night
Twin bed room                            95,00      per room per night

Please use this registration form in order to confirm your accommodation.

Important Dates
Abstract Submission Deadline:     February 15. 2012    
Notification of Acceptance:          March 5, 2012

Conference Dates:                July 26-27, 2012

About the Conference
In recent years, well-being has enjoyed a renaissance in philosophical discussions, as well as in fields like psychology, economics, development studies and sociology. Although these approaches share a common goal – to better understand what well-being is and how it can be enhanced – these developments have led to a great diversity in philosophical and scientific approaches to the analysis of well-being. Despite the increasing amount of research, most of the work on well-being is also performed at a highly abstract level. This is especially true in philosophy, but relatively little work has been devoted to the application of theories of well-being also in other fields, in particular when it comes to an understanding of life in contemporary society. Developments such as globalization, consumerism, and the rapid innovation and use of new and emerging technologies, all exert significant impact on the well-being of people living today, and we need a better understanding of their consequences for well-being.

Contemporary society requires that well-being researchers examine these problems – and, if possible, propose solutions to address them. This international conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines, including, but not limited to, psychology, economics, sociology, philosophy and development studies, in order to examine the practical role of well-being in contemporary society.
Potential Topics
We are looking for contributions that examine the notion of well-being in the context of contemporary society. The conference particularly welcomes papers that employ a notion of well-being to address social, political and ethical issues in present-day society. Suggested topics for the workshop include, but are not limited to:
  • Theoretical developments and approaches in the philosophy and science of well-being in relation to contemporary society, culture and life.
  • Well-being in social and political philosophy and/or in policy studies
  • Positive psychology (and related research fields) and its practical applicability
  • New and emerging technologies and well-being
  • Intercultural and interpersonal comparisons of well-being
  • Reliability, validity and applicability of well-being measures
  • Other specific practical issues pertaining to well-being in contemporary society

The workshop will include both invited papers and an open call for papers. For the open call, we invite extended abstracts (1500-2000 words).  Please anonymise the abstract, and include title, name and address in the accompanying email. The abstract, and any questions you may have about the conference, should be sent to wics2012@utwente.nl. Your abstract should be submitted before February 15th 2012, and will be subject to blind peer review.

Following the conference we aim to publish the papers, subject to a blind review process, in either an edited volume or a special issue of a relevant journal. We did so successfully with our previous conference, Good Life In a Technological Age, from which select papers were published as book in the prestigious Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society series, and will be available in February 2012. We have already received numerous offers from publishers, which we will discuss with you during/after the conference.