Manufacturing Happiness: Investigating Subjectivity, Transformation, and Cultural Capital

Venue: George Mason University

Location: Fairfax, Virginia, United States

Event Date/Time: Sep 26, 2009 End Date/Time: Sep 26, 2009
Abstract Submission Date: Jun 15, 2009
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Manufacturing Happiness: Investigating Subjectivity, Transformation, and Cultural Capital

The Cultural Studies Student Organizing Committee at George Mason University invites paper proposals for our 3rd Annual Cultural Studies Conference. The Conference will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

This conference considers practices, institutions, and products that promise happiness, in a sense of inducing “the good life,” typically expressed as self-realization or finding one’s purpose—borrowing Agamben’s term, subjective technologies that have a specific relationship to social and political forces. How do practices designed or claimed for such diverse purposes as personal stress management, recovering from colonization, parenting, global conglomeration, and corporate development work? What kinds of transformations do they bring, in terms of personality, power, and communitas? And what becomes of the living cultural traditions from which these practices are abstracted, as in the care of the psychotherapeutic practice of “western Buddhism,” which Zizek claims is the “hegemonic ideology par excellance of late capitalism?” From the transmission of packaged idealisms and practices with a putative relationship to traditional sources to the commodified transactions for ser
vices and goods, the conference organizers seeks papers that investigate the growing cultural industries, both global and local, devoted to manufacturing happiness.

The wide-ranging contexts for our investigation include, but are not limited to: the social positions within the family, home, workplace, community, or nation-state; geographical and global considerations of institutional development and affiliation; the political economy of corporate training models; cultural capital and legitimation; media and mediation (print, television, DVD, Internet, radio, etc.); religious connections and origins; the confirmation and construction of identities (gender, physical, class, spiritual, national, sexual, and race) in social or political realms; and the rise and intensity of ecological subjectivities.

• Integral Institute, Integral Naked, and Ken Wilber
• est Training
• Shambhala Training
• Eckhardt Tolle and Oprah’s Book Club
• Weight loss and Constructing Beauty
• The “Human Potential” Movement
• The Zen Alarm Clock
• The Secret
• Hollywood Kabballah Centre
• Transpersonal Psychology
• The “Self-Help” Industry
• Magazines such as What Is Enlightenment?

Please e-mail a 500-word abstract of your presentation along with a short CV to Michael Lecker ( no later than June 15, 2009.


Research I 163
United States

Additional Information

This conference is free and open to the public.