Can mindfulness really change the world? The political character of meditative practices

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Can mindfulness really change the world? The political character of meditative practices. / Leggett, William.

In: Critical Policy Studies, 02.06.2021.

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@article{935e7e2c99504ef5ae8e0f9168c90fc6,
title = "Can mindfulness really change the world? The political character of meditative practices",
abstract = "Mindfulness – the Buddhist derived meditative practice of cultivating attention to the present moment – has become a secular global phenomenon. Analysis of Mindfulness{\textquoteright}s political significance remains rare, despite its take-up by political actors and popular critiques of commodified, instrumentalised {\textquoteleft}McMindfulness{\textquoteright}. This article argues that Mindfulness exemplifies how technologies of the self occupy a key, contested space between reproducing and challenging contemporary power relations. Critiques of McMindfulness are extended via themes of de-politicization and the construction of neoliberal subjectivity. But more cognitively focused accounts of meditation practice, and wider critical-theoretical concepts, are then used to reconstruct Mindfulness, indicating its expansive political potential. {\textquoteleft}Micro Mindfulness{\textquoteright} is shown to enhance the neglected area of individual agency within deliberative democratic theory. Further, {\textquoteleft}Macro Mindfulness{\textquoteright} resonates with the radical democratic understanding of political subjectivity and {\textquoteleft}democracy to come{\textquoteright}. Most expansively, Mindfulness is a resource for developing critical consciousness and even prefiguring alternative futures.",
keywords = "McMindfulness, deliberative agency, neoliberal subjectivity, prefiguration, radical democracy, technologies of the self",
author = "William Leggett",
note = "Publisher Copyright: {\textcopyright} 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.",
year = "2021",
month = jun,
day = "2",
doi = "10.1080/19460171.2021.1932541",
language = "English",
journal = "Critical Policy Studies",
issn = "1946-0171",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Can mindfulness really change the world? The political character of meditative practices

AU - Leggett, William

N1 - Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

PY - 2021/6/2

Y1 - 2021/6/2

N2 - Mindfulness – the Buddhist derived meditative practice of cultivating attention to the present moment – has become a secular global phenomenon. Analysis of Mindfulness’s political significance remains rare, despite its take-up by political actors and popular critiques of commodified, instrumentalised ‘McMindfulness’. This article argues that Mindfulness exemplifies how technologies of the self occupy a key, contested space between reproducing and challenging contemporary power relations. Critiques of McMindfulness are extended via themes of de-politicization and the construction of neoliberal subjectivity. But more cognitively focused accounts of meditation practice, and wider critical-theoretical concepts, are then used to reconstruct Mindfulness, indicating its expansive political potential. ‘Micro Mindfulness’ is shown to enhance the neglected area of individual agency within deliberative democratic theory. Further, ‘Macro Mindfulness’ resonates with the radical democratic understanding of political subjectivity and ‘democracy to come’. Most expansively, Mindfulness is a resource for developing critical consciousness and even prefiguring alternative futures.

AB - Mindfulness – the Buddhist derived meditative practice of cultivating attention to the present moment – has become a secular global phenomenon. Analysis of Mindfulness’s political significance remains rare, despite its take-up by political actors and popular critiques of commodified, instrumentalised ‘McMindfulness’. This article argues that Mindfulness exemplifies how technologies of the self occupy a key, contested space between reproducing and challenging contemporary power relations. Critiques of McMindfulness are extended via themes of de-politicization and the construction of neoliberal subjectivity. But more cognitively focused accounts of meditation practice, and wider critical-theoretical concepts, are then used to reconstruct Mindfulness, indicating its expansive political potential. ‘Micro Mindfulness’ is shown to enhance the neglected area of individual agency within deliberative democratic theory. Further, ‘Macro Mindfulness’ resonates with the radical democratic understanding of political subjectivity and ‘democracy to come’. Most expansively, Mindfulness is a resource for developing critical consciousness and even prefiguring alternative futures.

KW - McMindfulness

KW - deliberative agency

KW - neoliberal subjectivity

KW - prefiguration

KW - radical democracy

KW - technologies of the self

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85107474458&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/19460171.2021.1932541

DO - 10.1080/19460171.2021.1932541

M3 - Article

JO - Critical Policy Studies

JF - Critical Policy Studies

SN - 1946-0171

ER -