JULY 8, 2020

Quote—Unquote’s podcast series provides a broadcast space for sound works, spoken word practice, readings, teachings and aural miscellanea by artists, anthropologists and researchers. The second episode presents Elena Trifan’s layered findings on the mirages of personal development.

The marketable products of positive thinking leave a lot out in the editing room before appearing in the meetings of corporations and life coaching sessions. In NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practice, language gets transformed through aestheticised techniques of communication and mediation. The individual is the sole responsible agent for their own well-being, as if suspended from the structures in which they operate.

After years of researching on this subject for her PhD thesis, through the Almost Self Development podcast episode Elena Trifan selects a few famous NLP discourse extracts and deconstructs them by applying sociological and anthropological filters. For approximately 20 minutes, the listener faces reversed understandings on the use of language as a means of over-expanding neoliberal society.


ELENA TRIFAN holds a PhD in Sociology, with a thesis based on personal development practice and social relations. She is an associate professor at SNSPA, where she teaches Introduction to Anthropology and Anthropology and Sociology of Labour. She is an independent researcher, collaborating with various national and international institutions, on themes related to social research. She is interested in social justice, work relation and social stratification.