Celebrity Personas, Self-help Culture, and Collective Psychology: Reflections and Transformations


  • Darren Kelsey Newcastle University, UK




The self-help industry bombards us with books and messages about how to live happier lives, but their advice is not always helpful. Celebrity endorsements of self-help methods and mythologies in popular culture create communicative tensions in our collective psyche, feeding messages of hope and optimism that are often, somewhat ironically, detrimental to our happiness. As a result, we now have a growing body of anti-self-help literature telling us to ditch the positive thinking, cut the endless fixation on goal setting, and live more resiliently in the face of life’s inevitable adversity (Brown 2016; Manson 2016; Brinkmann 2017).


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Author Biography

  • Darren Kelsey, Newcastle University, UK

    Darren Kelsey is Reader in Media and Collective Psychology in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University. He researches storytelling, mythology and ideology in contemporary media, culture and politics. His 2017 monograph, Media and Affective Mythologies, synergised approaches to critical discourse studies with the work of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and other mythologists. The psycho-discursive approach that he has continued to develop throughout his research explores the depths of the human psyche to analyse the transpersonal role of storytelling in society.


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Perspectives on Persona

How to Cite

Celebrity Personas, Self-help Culture, and Collective Psychology: Reflections and Transformations. (2020). Persona Studies, 6(1), 6-8. https://doi.org/10.21153/psj2020vol6no1art995