Mindfulness: A critical perspective


Mindfulness meditation has become one of the most popular psychological techniques for those seeking improved happiness and wellbeing.  Its use has developed beyond mental health settings and it is becoming a widespread practice in the wider public sphere.   While mindfulness appears to have gained much acceptance within psychology, it has received strikingly little critical attention.  Mindfulness is considered from a critical psychology perspective, by contextualising its popularity as a product of advanced capitalist society.  Using a Foucauldian perspective, it is argued that mindfulness reinforces neoliberal ideology by promoting the concept of the responsible, autonomous, choosing individual who dedicates themselves to a lifelong project of self-improvement and self-discipline.  It is hoped that this theoretical critique will encourage psychologists and psychotherapists to reflect upon the political implications of their activities when selecting mindfulness as a technique for improving happiness and wellbeing.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v2i1p87

Keywords: governmentality, mindfulness, neoliberalism, popular psychology, technologies of the self


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