For over one hundred years, peoples of predominantly European and Anglo-American societies – the Western countries of the ‘Global North’ – have turned to Asian-derived mind-body practices and training regimes, such as meditation, as therapeutic ways of living with rapid socio-economic change and political turmoil. Mindfulness, or Buddhist sati, is a case in point. Emerging out of complex, inter-cultural ‘exchanges’ – notably British colonial expansion in Southeast Asia – mindfulness meditation, or Buddhist vipassana, now features as a prominent feature of the globalised self-help scene, therapeutic culture and ‘happiness industry’.
The National Institute for Clinical and Health Excellence recommends Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on the NHS for relapsing depression https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/mindfulness.aspx The comedian Ruby Wax is opening ‘Frazzled Cafés’ in branches of Marks & Spencer in England https://www.frazzledcafe.org/ And the United Kingdom has recently been described as ‘way ahead of the curve’ when it comes to ‘mindful politics’ following an international gathering of meditating politicians in Westminster https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/13/politicians-meditate-commons-mindfulness-event What does the exponential rise of mindfulness tell us about the social world in which we are currently living? What are the historical, ethical and political dimensions of mindfulness in the modern world? Dr. Steven Stanley, a social scientist from the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, will discuss his ongoing research on the ‘mindfulness movement’, including scholarship from his forthcoming co-edited handbook Ethical Foundations of Mindfulness (Stanley, Purser, & Singh, in press; Springer) and his Leverhulme Trust funded research project Beyond Personal Wellbeing: Mapping the Social Production of Mindfulness in England and Wales https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/view/827049-understanding-mindfulness-in-modern-life.
Join us at The Gate on Tuesday 21 November from 8.00 pm