Open Access Opinion Article

The Commodification of Self-Help: Deconstructing the Sirens’ Song

Christopher Swindell*

School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Marshall University, USA

Corresponding Author

Received Date: August 24, 2021;  Published Date: November 09, 2021


The purpose of this investigation is to assess through a critical lens the unexplored motives and machinations of the wildly popular “self-help” industry and its potentially devastating effects on people seeking personal growth and healing from it. Because of the COVID disruption, target subjects are now more likely to include (with IRB approval) Marshall students, faculty, and staff. It is not a medical research project nor is it a statistical analysis. Instead, it is a continuation of an extant project detailed below. This project began before COVID, was interrupted/stalled by it, and now because of it, includes, unexpectedly, additional streams of inquiry. In other words, this proposal asks a sabbatical to a) resume a project stalled by the pandemic’s societal shutdown, and b) capitalize on its disruptive effects now that it is a part of the culture. Research projects thrive on realism, which is why the earlier endeavor showed such promise. The new reality of COVID’s corrosive effects on normal interactions creates the tragic prospect of added alienation, as well as feelings of being disconnected, adrift, and less “worthy” or “valuable.” These are the very attributes most self-help seekers use to self-describe. It is, therefore, obligatory that the Academy attempt to understand it better.

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