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Required alienation? The monitored self in a health promotion programme in secondary schools of three Swedish municipalities

Journal article
Authors Kristina Alstam
T. Forkby
Published in Pedagogy, Culture and Society
ISSN 1468-1366
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Social Work
Language en
Keywords Alienation, governmentality, health promotion, secondary school
Subject categories Social Work, Pedagogy


In this article, promotion is an institutionally mediated effort to bolster or redirect a person’s health, strength, and other assets to build resilience. We analyse a Swedish version of the Life in Action promotion programme used in secondary schools in three municipalities. Focusing on types of alienation as framed in the programme, we argue that Life in Action’s treatment of the psyche as an object in need of conscious monitoring, nurturing, and enhancement of qualities such as positive attitude and self-discipline signals the teenage participants’ required alienation. Concluding the article, we discuss how this type of alienation may already be present in participating students, and also how it may be necessary for young people about to enter work-life in the era of late capitalism. © 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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