The Social Structure of Subjective Well-Being

January 31, 2019

An international conference hosted by the University of Luxembourg

Institute of Education and Society & Institute for Research on Generations and Family

University of Luxembourg (Campus Belval), Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg


Subjective well-being (SWB) is a major goal of human actions. For a long time, SWB has been mainly studied by psychologists. Fuelled by an interest in how social structures and (material) conditions shape subjective perceptions, attitudes, and values, sociologists have successfully entered the field of SWB research in the last two decades. A main objective has been to show how socio-economic characteristics such as class, status, prestige, education as well as gender or migration background, cultural variables such as ethnicity and religion and critical life events shape SWB. Furthermore, the association of GDP, unemployment rates, welfare policies, migration policies, and value climates with SWB have been high on the research agenda. While the state-of-research has provided many valuable insights and helped advance sociological research, it also generated mixed findings and mixed interpretations.

Against this backdrop, this international conference aims to shed light on how socio-economic characteristics such as class, status, and education as well as other ascriptive factors such as gender and migration background structure SWB. We hope to induce debates on past and current research regarding several questions from a social science perspective: Which conceptual and empirical mechanisms explain the link between structural indicators and subjective well-being? What is the impact of absolute and relative social positions on subjective well-being? How does the distinction between hedonic and eudemonic add to the current measurement practices in the social sciences? How do new ways of social interaction affect SWB, e.g., through social comparison via social networks? What makes a liveable society?

Keynote Speakers

Martijn Burger, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Yaojun Li, University of Manchester

Siegwart M. Lindenberg, University of Groningen

Filomena Maggino, Sapienza University Rome

Shigehiro Oishi, University of Virginia

Claudia Senik, University Paris-Sorbonne

Scientific Committee

Monika Budowski, Université de Fribourg; Fabian Kratz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Christian Suter, Université de Neuchâtel; Andreas Hadjar & Robin Samuel, University of Luxembourg.


We invite social scientists to submit proposals for

  • paper presentations (20 minutes plus 10 minutes of discussion);
  • posters; or
  • round-table talks (15 minute presentation plus discussion).

The conference language is English.

Papers and posters should focus on the following topics:

  • Theorising subjective well-being and social inequalities
  • Methodological challenges in the measurement of subjective well-being
  • Education and subjective well-being
  • Class, status, social mobility, and subjective well-being
  • nequalities beyond social inequalities (migration background, gender, etc.)
  • Sustainability, society, and subjective well-being

Your abstract of about 500-1000 words should cover key questions, theoretical issues, methods, and (preliminary) results.

Include the following information for all author(s):

  • family name, first name(s);
  • email address;
  • telephone number (including country and area dialling codes);
  • postal address (including postcode and country); and
  • academic title/post/appointment.

Please indicate if you prefer to give a presentation, to present a poster, or to discuss your paper at a round-table talk.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is the 31st of January 2019. Please send your abstracts by email to SWB2019 [at]

You will be notified whether your proposal has been accepted by the 1st of April 2019.


Professor Dr. Andreas Hadjar andreas.hadjar(at)   

Professor Dr. Robin Samuel robin.samuel(at)