n HTS : Theological Studies - ‘Who am I, really?’ – self-help consumption and self-identity in the age of technology - research

Volume 75 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



This article offers an analytic exploration of self-disclosed accounts by consumers of self-help media with regard to how their engagement with these texts influences their self-identifying efforts. Relying on a thematic discourse analysis of data from in-depth interviews with 10 black avid self-help consumers, this article outlines in what ways, according to these individuals, their notions of self-identity are impacted by the self-help texts they consume. A relationship between self-help media consumption and self-identity, I argue, exists based on the grounds that the educational nature of the self-help text renders it a key tool of ‘guidance’ to these selfhelp consumers. It is a guidance that is intricately linked to the media’s endorsement of mediated experiences – through various communication technologies – from which consumers of these distant experiences vicariously ‘learn’ to ultimately attribute these lessons to their own social relations. This, in turn, allows for the carving of their own identities based on the ‘ideas’ they have at their disposal.

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