1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology

    590 Pages
    by Routledge

    590 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    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


    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 Skłodowska-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.