The Construction of the Neoliberal Self in Belgrade Psychotherapeutic Practice

  • Bogdan Vukomanović Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Keywords:
neoliberalism, psychotherapy, postsocialism, the self, self-improvement, Belgrade

Abstract

The processes of neoliberalization and European integration in Serbia have been underway for some time, and in addition to their effect on certain elements of the social structure such as the family, the economy, political life etc., their impact is also evident in the way that Serbian citizens perceive themselves and their position in this environment. Due to reduced social protection, the withdrawal of the state from the public sphere, and increasing financial and employment insecurity, individuals are obliged to assume responsibility for their lives and to engage in self-improvement with the aim of personal development and the finding of new survival strategies. Through interviews with psychotherapists and persons who have used the services of private psychotherapy, this paper looks at the relationship between private psychotherapeutic practice in Belgrade as a technique for self-improvement and the construction of the self in its clients, and then relates it to the broader socio-economic context in which the respondents live and work. The findings suggest that with regard to its clients, private psychotherapeutic practice mirrors the emphasis on independence, autonomy and responsibility for one's life and life decisions, which are typical features of the entrepreneurial self characteristic of the period of post-socialist neoliberalization.

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Author Biography

Bogdan Vukomanović, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
PhD Candidate at Department of Ethnology and Anthropology

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Published
2020-07-04
How to Cite
Vukomanović, Bogdan. 2020. “The Construction of the Neoliberal Self in Belgrade Psychotherapeutic Practice”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2), 551–577. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i2.10.