When did individuals become obsessed with incessant self-improvement? Why did this happen? What are the consequences of always trying to work on ourselves? In this presentation, André Spicer and Carl Cederström will chart the rise of the culture of self-improvement from Europe in the early 20th century to Silicon Valley in the early 21st century.
They will look at how this culture of self-improvement has seeped into many major social institutions such as the workplace, universities and the state. Drawing on a 12-month auto-ethnography, they will discuss what the contemporary culture of self-improvement looks like from the inside. Finally, they will consider what the major drives of this culture of self-improvement are and what the prospects might be for escaping incessant self-improvement.
The talk will draw on their two books, The Wellness Syndrome and Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement.