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By, for, with women? On the politics and potentialities of wellness entrepreneurship

O'Neill, Rachel (2024) By, for, with women? On the politics and potentialities of wellness entrepreneurship. Sociological Review, 72 (1). 3 - 20. ISSN 0038-0261

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00380261221142461


Based in original ethnographic research, this article examines the motivations and experiences of those seeking to forge careers in the UK’s burgeoning wellness industry. As a movement-market centred around health-enhancement and encompassing a broad array of practices and products, this industry has recently grown to prominence in Britain, driven significantly by the aspirational economies of social media. While the promise of wellness is manifold – including, most obviously, that of health and well-being – here I examine its operation in relation to questions of work and employment. Drawing on interviews with those who already work or aspire to work in wellness – generally on a self-employed basis, but often operating under the sign of a more glamorised ‘entrepreneurship’ – I explore why women are drawn to participate in this arena in a professional as well as personal capacity. I focus in particular on the lure of wellness work among participants who had already established careers in other settings, for whom the transition entails relinquishing relative economic security to instead pursue an inherently risky pathway. This research reflects critically on existing accounts of ‘passionate work’ by arguing that wellness entrepreneurship functions as both an individual and collective endeavour. In doing so it grapples with the politics and potentialities of wellness entrepreneurship as a feminised mode of self-employment, situating this analysis within the continuing aftermath of feminism in an era marked by new feminist visibilities and discourses of female empowerment.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 16:18
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 04:15

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