Hee Jung Min, Joseph Lynn | Critical Sociology
This paper aims to analyze mindfulness in education from a critical perspective. We first examine the historical underpinnings of human capital theory, which encourages educators to view students as efficient laborers in a neo-liberal society. Using the lens of Bourdieu’s capital theory, we further examine how mass media inadvertently distorts the definition of mindfulness by exploring the development of a specific mass media story and by identifying how mass media factors beyond headlines and titles reframe mindfulness. We argue that this type of reframing has created a public perception of students who practice mindfulness as not only successful in social relationships but also as valued laborers who expand economic growth. This analysis opens two doors of discourse. First, mindfulness in education should be de-capitalized and shifted toward a spiritual focus. Second, we ask educational writers and publishers to redirect mindfulness applications away from their original purpose.