What defines "happiness," and how can we attain it? The ways in which people in China ask and answer this universal question tell a lot about the tensions and challenges they face during periods of remarkable political and economic change.
Based on a five-year original study conducted by a select team of China experts, The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness begins by asking if Chinese citizens’ assessment of their life is primarily a judgment of their social relationships. The book shows how different dimensions of happiness are manifest in the moral and ethical understandings that embed individuals in specific communities. Vividly describing the moral dilemmas experienced in contemporary Chinese society, the rituals of happiness performed in modern weddings, the practices of conviviality carried out in shared meals, the professional tensions confronted by social workers, and the hopes and frustrations shared by political reformers, the contributors to this important study illuminate the causes of anxiety and reasons for hope in China today.