Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Anu (Aradhana) Sharma

Major

Anthropology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis explores the pitfalls and potential of mindfulness as a force of self and social transformation under neoliberalism. Mindfulness meditation is now an established part of the self-help industry and is used in a variety of institutional and corporate settings to promote productive behaviors. As I highlight this dangerous narrowing of mindfulness as a tool of responsibilization and discipline that does not challenge oppressive structures, I also pay careful attention to its potential as a radical practice that exceeds its neoliberal cooptation. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation pause to observe their internal experience, and then turn outward and engage with the world more thoughtfully. Although it is an individualized practice, meditation holds the power to connect people and can foster compassion and community in a world that prioritizes greed and individualism

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