Beyond happiness? Pondering the purpose(s) of education

Over the last two decades a booming industry in ‘happiness’ has emerged. Academic research on happiness has attracted widespread media attention and spawned a host of more popular publications, many of which have a strong ‘self-help’ flavour. Happiness is typically construed as something we all want and ought to pursue; indeed, it is often seen as the ultimate end to which our activities are directed. Education is expected to enhance, not impede, human happiness. This presentation offers an alternative way of thinking about the nature and purpose of education. It acknowledges the importance of certain forms of happiness while also investigating the role education has to play in creating discomfort, uncertainty, and unhappiness.