Jan. 4, 2023

SELF IMPROVEMENT: Laurie Taylor explores the 'wellness' and 'confidence' cultures that injunct us to be better versions of ourselves. He talks to Shani Orgad, a Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE and co-author of a new study arguing that imperatives directed at women to “love your body” and “believe in yourself” imply that psychological blocks rather than entrenched social injustices hold women back. Why is there now such an emphasis on confidence in contemporary discourse about body image, workplace, relationships, motherhood, and even international development? They’re joined by Stephanie Alice Baker, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City, University of London, whose latest work traces the emergence of 'wellness culture' from a fringe countercultural pursuit to a trillion-dollar industry. Wellness has become synonymous with yoga, meditation, and other forms of self-care and is no longer simply an alternative to mainstream medicine. As it's coalesced with consumer culture, it's become synonymous with an industry of exclusive products and services. In addition, in the Covid moment, it's become associated with harmful conspiracy theories. So is 'wellness' culture delivering on its myriad promises, or does it have a darker side? Producer: Jayne Egerton

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