Emotional capital as a neoliberal strategy of identity : coaching upper middle class subjectivities in Poland
This article suggests that emotional capital as an embodied form of cultural capital can be treated as a neoliberal strategy of identity. The ethnographic research is based within a community of Polish coaches and their clients (coachees). The paper argues that the identity and the status of upper middle class members are built, not only through accumulating material goods and creating beneficial social relations, but also on adopting lifestyle habits such us participating in coaching practices, in order to attain self-awareness, emotional well-being as well as the ability to manage emotions. From my analytical perspective, one can see coaching as a materialisation of neoliberal technologies of governmentality, helping to reach and tweak the cognitive-emotional dispositions that make up a form of emotional capital. Being self-aware and emotionally mature, thus more productive, becomes a key element in the upper middle class members’ production of self-image, which were effectively the objects of my research. They define themselves, as well as the members of the class they associate with, on the basis of a neoliberal logic and the discourse of psy-disciplines.