A Mindful Community of Praxis Model for Wellbeing in the Academy
The reality of high levels of stress in the Canadian academy and elsewhere are pervasive and problematic. In response, increasing numbers of academic institutions are turning to mindfulness-based interventions to encourage self-care. However, such individualist approaches based on a neoliberal model of self-care do not address the faculty isolation, lack of time, and casualization of the labour force that studies cite as some probable causes for damaging levels of overwork and stress. I provide a critical reflection on the weaknesses of individualist versions of mindfulness programming to address stress in the academy and consider alternative approaches, including Freire’s popular education and engaged Buddhism models, in order to realize a more social justice and community-based approach to well-being. I propose a Communities of Praxis Framework that integrates critical consciousness, communal resistance, compassionate action, as well as mindfulness-based and other reflexive practices to improve both individual well-being and systemic change in the academy.
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