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Member Highlight: Piotr Michon

Piotr Michon

Associate professor

Department of Labour and Social Policy

Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland

ISQOLS Social Indicators Network News (SINET) Editor 


1. Describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies.


I am a trained economist, but while I do not understand the merit of division for scientific disciplines, I prefer to be described as a social scientist. In my work I try to connect: economics, (social) psychology, political science, philosophy and sociology.

My work is mostly on happiness and: family, (un)employment, gender.

Unlike my western colleagues, from the very beginning of my career I work at the same university. Of course with some breaks for research sites (in Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia etc.), or fellowships (Scotland, Mexico).


2.  What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?

Boredom. Honestly. I am a welfare economist. My PhD thesis was devoted to family policy – a large scale comparative analysis. The topic was intriguing and absorbing, and important for me while I became a father writing my thesis. When you devote all of your attention, your time and effort, to one topic, it can be exhausting. However once I finished I was tired, no so much with family, but very much with family policy. I needed something new, something thrilling, both in life and in work. What can be more interesting and complex than happiness?Nowadays my work is somewhere on the border between happiness, family and social policy. I “returned” to family policy, division of work within family, but I look at the issue from different, happiness and justice perspective.


3. What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?

I would like to say that I have no advice for others. I strongly believe that everyone must find her/his own path. However – like some respondents in the social studies, you asked me to give an advice, so I will provide one.

Sometimes all of us have the temptation to choose the wide paths. It seems to be reasonable to be in the mainstream, and for us, scientists it is crucial while then we can be published. However it is not what is science about. Do you work with passion of discovery, with love of the act, be within process, even if it is not what makes you highly cited scholar. Too pathetic? Sorry, but this is how I see it, it comes from my own experience.  


4. How long have you been a member of ISQOLS? Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS? How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?

It started in 2007. I went for my first ISQOLS conference in San Diego, California and met Richard Easterlin. It was it. Try to imagine:  the guy from former Eastern bloc, from country where you are expected to address your supervisor: Mr(s) Professor, where the hierarchy was tough, and the relations used to be very formal. I went to San Diego, and met a man who was a world authority in the area of happiness. I was terrified, I did not want to behave as a fool. When we me Richard just said: Hi, I am Richard, how are you? And we have a nice talk.

In San Diego I also met Liz Eckerman, and we became friends since our first meeting – she was so wonderful person. She, Richard and Andrew Clark – all of them made me feel home. Since our meeting in San Diego I am a member of ISQOLS.

Piotr Michon can be reached at: piotr.michon@gmail.com

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