The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology

ISBN 9781138961432
Published September 19, 2017 by Routledge
590 Pages

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USD $230.00

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Book Description

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the field of positive psychology has sought to implement a science of human flourishing so that we may lead happier, more fulfilling lives. It has found expression not only in academic papers but also popular books and, increasingly, in government policy. The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology is the first volume dedicated to a critical appraisal of this influential but controversial field of study.

The book critically examines not only the scientific foundations of positive psychology, but also the sociocultural and political tenets on which the field rests. It evaluates the current field of knowledge and practice, and includes chapters analysing the methodological constructs of the field, as well as others that question what positive psychology actually means by ideas such as happiness or well-being. Taking the debate further, the book then discusses how positive psychology can be applied in a wider variety of settings than is presently the case, helping communities and individuals by acknowledging the reality of people’s lives rather than adhering strictly to debateable theoretical constructs.

Including contributions from disciplines ranging from psychoanalysis to existential therapy, theology to philosophy, and contributors from throughout the world, The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology will be enlightening reading for anyone interested in how psychology has sought to understand human well-being.

Table of Contents


Interiorizing and Interrogating Well-Being

Isaac Prilleltensky

Chapter 1

Critical Positive Psychology: A Creative Convergence of Two Disciplines

Piers Worth and Matthew Smith

Section 1: Criticism of Positive Psychology


Nicholas J. L. Brown

Chapter 2

The Unavoidable Role of Values in Positive Psychology: Reflections in Light of Psychology’s Replicability Crisis

Brent Dean Robbins and Harris L. Friedman

Chapter 3

Taking a Closer Look at Well-Being as a Scientific Construct: Delineating its Conceptual Nature and Boundaries in Relation to Spirituality and Existential Functioning

Douglas A. MacDonald

Chapter 4

The Meaning and Valence of Gratitude in Positive Psychology

Liz Gulliford and Blaire Morgan

Chapter 5

Positive Psychology, Mental Health, and the False Promise of the Medical Model

Sam Thompson

Chapter 6

Is Positive Psychology an Indigenous Psychology?

Jeanne Marecek and John Chambers Christopher

Chapter 7

Community Psychology’s Contributions on Happiness and Well-being: Including the Role of Context, Social Justice, and Values in Our Understanding of the Good Life.

Salvatore Di Martino, Francisco José Eiroa-Orosa, and Caterina Arcidiacono

Chapter 8

Positive Psychology: Intellectual, Scientific, or Ideological Movement?

Bernardo Moreno-Jiménez and Aldo Aguirre-Camacho

Chapter 9

Is Positive Psychology Compatible With Freedom?

Digby Tantam

Chapter 10

Critique of Positive Psychology and Positive Interventions

Paul T. P. Wong and Sandip Roy

Chapter 11

Toward a Well-Spoken Explanatory Style

Paul Kalkin

Chapter 12

An Introduction to Criticality for Students of Positive Psychology

Nicholas J. L. Brown

Interlude 1

Chapter 13

Five Historic Philosophers Discuss Human Flourishing and Happiness in Positive Psychology: A Speculative Dialogue in Three Acts

Liz Gulliford and Kristján Kristjánsson

Section 2: Doing Positive Psychology Critically


Tim Lomas

Chapter 14

A Re-appraisal of Boredom: A Case Study in Second Wave Positive Psychology

Tim Lomas

Chapter 15

Affirming the Positive in Anomalous Experiences: A Challenge to Dominant Accounts of Reality, Life, and Death

Edith Steffen, David J. Wilde, and Callum E. Cooper

Chapter 16

Uncovering the Good in Positive Psychology: Toward a Worldview Conception That Can Help Positive Psychology Flourish

Peter C. Hill and M. Elizabeth Lewis Hall

Chapter 17

Toward a Culturally Competent Positive Psychology

Adil Qureshi and Stella Evangelidou

Chapter 18

Cultural and Racial Perspectives on Positive Psychologies of Humility

David R. Paine, Sarah H. Moon, Daniel J. Hauge, and Steven J. Sandage

Chapter 19

Positive Psychology’s Religious Imperative

Daniel K. Brown and David G. George

Chapter 20

Character Strengths as Critique: The Power of Positive Psychology to Humanise the Workplace

Roger Bretherton and Ryan M. Niemiec

Chapter 21

Toward an Integrative Applied Positive Psychology

Byron Lee

Chapter 22

Positive Politics: Left-wing Versus Right-wing Policies, and Their Impact on the Determinants of Wellbeing

Tim Lomas

Chapter 23

A Proposed Enquiry Into the Effect of Sociocultural Changes on Well-Being

Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa

Chapter 24

Complexity: Towards a New Measure of Societal Well-being

Daniel T. Gruner and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Interlude 2

Chapter 25

Pleasure as a Form of Liberatory Practice

Tod Sloan and Marisol Garcia

Section 3: Applied Perspectives


Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa

Chapter 26

Community Social Psychology and Positive Psychology: Learning From the Experience of Latin America

Ramón Soto Martínez and Salvatore Di Martino

Chapter 27

Positive, Necessary, and Possible Lives: Experience and Practice from the Struggle for a Dignified Life

José Eduardo Viera and Lauren Languido

Chapter 28

Exploring the Role of Engagement on Well-Being and Personal Development: A Review of Adolescent and Mental Health Activism

Anne C. Montague and Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa

Chapter 29

Citizenship, Mental Health, and Positive Psychology

Jean-François Pelletier, Chyrell Bellamy, Maria O’Connell, Michaella Baker, and Michael Rowe

Chapter 30

The Brutality of Reality

Chris Beales

Chapter 31

Philotimo: Vices and Virtues of a Moral Archetype

Manos Rhodes Hatzimalonas

Chapter 32

Evaluating Positive Education: A Framework and Case Study

Dianne A. Vella-Brodrick, Nikki S. Rickard, and Tan-Chyuan Chin

Chapter 33

Shaping Positive Education Research to Influence Public Policy

Charlie Simson, Lauren Rosewarne, and Lea Waters

Chapter 34

Positive Psychology at a City Scale

Mike Zeidler, Liz Zeidler, and Byron Lee

Chapter 35

Judging the Efficacy and Ethics of Positive Psychology for Government Policymaking

Mark D. White

Chapter 36

Feel Good or Be Happy. Distinctions Between Emotions and Development in the Environmental Psychology Research of Wellbeing

Pablo Olivos and Ricardo Ernst

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Nicholas J. L. Brown is a PhD candidate in Health Psychology at the University Medical Center, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His research examines the claims made by positive psychology regarding the relation between well-being and physical health outcomes.

Tim Lomas is a Lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London, UK. He has published numerous books and papers on topics including positive psychology theory, language, meditation, Buddhism, and neuroscience.

Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa holds a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship coordinated between the universities of Barcelona and Yale. The aim of his project is to explore the role of context on mental health interventions with key stakeholders such as service users, professionals, and policy makers.