Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2010


Positive Psychology and Concepts of Well-being across Cultures and Societies:Promoting the Good Life of Individuals and Communities

Lecturer: Professor Antonella Delle Fave,
Università degli Studi di Milano,
Milano, Italy

Main disciplines: Positive Psychology, Cultural Psychology

Dates: 26 - 30 July 2010
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants


Introduction
This course aims at offering an overview of theories and interventions in Positive Psychology. Within this recent and innovative framework, researchers are investigating subjective well-being, creativity, personal strengths and resources, taking into account their implications for both individual growth and community development. This approach entails a theoretical and empirical shift from the traditional outlook of psychology, moving from the use of interventions to treat the outcomes of problems to the development of strategies aimed at preventing their onset. The psychological investigation of subjective well-being allows researchers to explore individual resources and potentials. This information can be used to design intervention programs addressed to all categories of individuals and groups in any society. Emphasis on resources and abilities instead of weaknesses and deficits can promote individual development and well-being in various domains: education, physical and mental health, work, and social integration.  In particular, this approach can be used to design projects addressed to people who have to cope with disadvantages, be they related to health conditions or to social maladjustment.

The major aims of this course are:

    1. Physical and mental health promotion
    2. Quality of life across the lifespan
    3. Community and social policies

 

Basic books/articles for preparation to the course
Students are adviced to obtain or buy the following texts for this course:

 

LECTURE OUTLINE

Lecture 1:  The foundations of Positive Psychology. An interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach
A theoretical shift from deficit compensation to resource  promotion, from objective indicators to subjective evaluations of well-being. Outcomes and applications

Readings:

 

Lecture 2: Two theoretical perspectives in positive Psychology: Hedonism and Eudaimonia 

Topic 1: Basic concepts

Readings:

Topic 2: Conceptualizations within the hedonic perspective

Readings:

 

Lecture 3: Conceptualizations within the eudaimonic perspective (1)

Topic 1: Psychological well-being and its components

Readings:

Topic 2: Flourishing

Reading:

Topic 3: Self-Determination

Reading:

 

Lecture 4: Conceptualizations within the eudaimonic perspective (2)

Topic 1: Psychological selection and Optimal Experience

Readings:

Topic 2: The role of meaning and goals in promoting well-being

Reading:

Topic 3: The classification of strengths and virtues

Reading:

 

Lecture 5: The assessment of well-being. Methodological aspects

Topic 1: Experience Sampling Procedures

Readings:

Topic 2: Questionnaires and qualitative data

Reading:

Topic 3: Scales

Readings:

 

Lecture 6: Cross-cultural studies on well-being: similarities and differences in conceptualizations and evaluations

Readings:

 

Lecture 7: The promotion of individual well-being across the life span

Topic 1: Well being in productive and leisure activities

Readings:

Topic 2: Well-being across life domains

Reading:

 

Lecture 8: Promoting well-being in disease

Topic 1: Individual resources

Readings:

Topic 2: Implications for community and health policies

Readings:

 

Lecture 9: Applications in clinical psychology and psychotherapy

Readings:

 

Lecture 10: Community empowerment and social welfare: suggestions from Positive Psychology

Topic 1: Wealth, materialism and well-being

Readings:

Topic 2: Promoting well-being in multicultural societies

Readings:

Topic 3: Towards a eudaimonic society

Readings:

 

Total reading list

 

The lecturer
Antonella Delle Fave, MD specialized in Clinical Psychology, is professor of Psychology at the Faculty of Medicine, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy. Her studies concern optimal experience and the process of individual psychological selection, that is the long-term differential replication and cultivation of activities and competencies. She has been collaborating with university research groups in Europe, United States, Brazil and India. Her cross-cultural studies have produced the largest international data bank on psychological selection and optimal experience. On the basis of research findings, she has developed and supervised intervention projects in the domains of health and education, as well as international co-operation programs on disability and social maladjustment.

She actively contributed to the development and dissemination of positive psychology, as organizer of the 2nd European Positive Psychology Conference (Verbania, Italy, 2004), invited keynote speaker at international conferences, and founder of the Società Italiana di Psicologia Positiva. She is President of the European Network of Positive Psychology (ENPP) and President of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) for the years 2010-2011. She is author of over 100 articles and chapters in peer-reviewed books, author/editor of 10 books and 2 special journal issues, and member of several Editorial Boards and Boards of Reviewers.

Her latest publication in English are:

A new book authored by Antonella Delle Fave, Fausto Massimini and Marta Bassi, “Psychological Selection and Optimal Experience across Cultures” is expected for late 2010. Published by Springer Science, it will summarize the authors’ findings over decades of research on these topics, and it will suggest new directions for promoting the quality of life of individuals and communities. The book will be the first volume of the new series Cross-cultural perspectives in Positive Psychology, directed by Antonella Delle Fave for Springer. Already ten volumes are scheduled in the series for the next four years, authored by the most distinguished scholars in Positive Psychology at the international level.

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