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Mindful in Westminster: The politics of meditation and the limits of neoliberal critique

Cook, J; (2016) Mindful in Westminster: The politics of meditation and the limits of neoliberal critique. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory , 6 (1) pp. 141-161. 10.14318/hau6.1.011. Green open access

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Abstract

Analytically, the concept of neoliberalism helps to account for the relationship between forms of governance, self-governance, and capitalist market forces. But how do we decipher its limits? Taking political interest in mindfulness as my ethnographic focus, I explore theoretical categories of neoliberalism and "responsibilization" that cross-cut emerging forms of governance in contemporary British society. I chose this particular ethnographic focus in order to examine the multiple meanings and values invested in subjectification practices, and the ways in which diversity is maintained through the structure of political inquiry. I argue that practices of subjectification are never totalizing, that politico-economic concerns remain central to professional interest in self-governance, that subjectification practices may hold multiple and/or diverse meanings, and that the maintenance of this multiplicity is a motor of political process.

Type: Article
Title: Mindful in Westminster: The politics of meditation and the limits of neoliberal critique
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14318/hau6.1.011
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau6.1.011
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY 4.0). © Joanna Cook.
Keywords: mindfulness, neoliberalism, governance, mental health, subjectification, responsiblization, meditation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1517072
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