From Self-Made to Belabored

Micki McGee

in Self-Help, Inc.

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195171242
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944088 | DOI:
From Self-Made to Belabored

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This book investigates how the promise of self-help can lead workers into a new sort of enslavement – into a cycle where the self is not improved but endlessly belabored – and explores the shifts in self-improvement culture in an era of dramatic economic and social changes. It also provides a glance of how the cultures of personal transformation, though largely a force for maintaining the status quo, might be mined for progressive political opportunities. When social and economic structures—gender role expectations and employment conditions—undergo dramatic changes, individual and interpersonal change is inevitable. The culture of self-improvement is seen as fragmented, varied, mutable, and, at least in theory, potentially emancipatory. This chapter provides an overview of the chapters included in the book. The forced labor of self-making, the belaboring of our selves, is at the centre of the book's discussion.

Keywords: belaboring; self-help; self-making; personal transformation; gender; employment; self-improvement; forced labor

Chapter.  5750 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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