Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The thesis analyzes current, popular "inspirational" self-help literature as it is situated in a socio-historical context. The findings suggest a contemporary value orientation toward "selfism," a view that individuals should strive, towards total independence of others. A commitment to self, an individual morality, a concern with present day living, self-sufficiency and self-love are some of the values expressed in the current literature. Compared with previous inspirational literature, this suggests an almost radical shift in values and ideology. The trends of the previous literature are reviewed in a socio-historical perspective. It is argued that inspirational literature is a product of the middle class and that the values articulated are symptomatic of broader changes occurring in the culture and social structure. The current value shift reflects a crisis in middle class ideology. This class is currently perceiving a loss of its traditional sense of order and place in the world and is searching for a new ideology that will still contain the central elements of individualism and free will that have been the fundamental ethos of the American consciousness.
Douglas, Helen Anne, "The Society of Self: An analysis of contemporary popular inspirational self-help literature in a socio-historical perspective" (1979). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2798.
McMaster University Library