Disrupting White Mindfulness

Race and Racism in the Wellbeing Industry

By Cathy-Mae Karelse

Disrupting White Mindfulness
Hardcover +
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162069
  • Publish Date: May 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526176264
  • Publish Date: May 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £14.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162052
  • Publish Date: May 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6205-2
    • Published Date: May 2023


    Disrupting White Mindfulness offers a timely commentary on the dominant narratives that shape the mindfulness industry - whiteness, postracialism and neoliberalism. Its positioning as 'apolitical' forges institutions that fit comfortably into increasingly divided societies. The race-gender profile of these institutions reveals a White, middle-class profile of decision-makers, educators and staff that is mirrored in its audiences. Mechanisms that recycle the industry's whiteness include corporatist pedagogies, edicts of authority, disengagement with difference and inappropriate uses of mindfulness that distance People of the Global Majority. A growing emergent movement focused on a justice-infused mindfulness and liberatory wellbeing decolonises mindfulness and de-centres whiteness. Its premise in indigenous, global South, queer knowledges leverages difference to produce multiple solutions focused on liberation. There is room for White Mindfulness to change.


    'Karelse delivers a cracking Black Feminist call to decolonise "Wellbeing" with her forensic exposé of the darkside of the White Mindfulness industry and its colonial co-option of Eastern teachings for Western gain.'
    Heidi Safia Mirza, author of Race, Gender and Educational Desire

    'Disrupting White Mindfulness offers a generous and critical lens of exploration helping to free the ancient practice of mindfulness from systems of dominance, restoring the practice back to its original project of liberation for all who seek it.'
    Lama Rod Owens, author of Love and Rage and co-author of Radical Dharma

    'Karelse importantly invites the mindful to reimagine their communities, untethering themselves from the de facto white, colonial cultures that undergird and infuse their most popular forms. She instead encourages others to imagine along with her how such practices can be used to foster a more inclusive and just world through intrapersonal and collective reflection, new forms of community building, and action.'
    Jamie Kucinskas, author of The Mindful Elite: Mobilising from the Inside Out and Situating spirituality: Context, Practice, Power


    Introduction: encountering the world of White Mindfulness
    Part I: The roots of exclusion and Othering
    1 Othering: the roots of colonisation and Orientalism
    2 Cementing whiteness: inclusion through a neoliberal, postracial lens
    3 Western Buddhism: a postracial precursor to White Mindfulness
    Part II: Wrapping Mindfulness in whiteness
    4 Stuck in whiteness: patterns in Western mindfulness organisations
    5 Reproducing whiteness: pedagogies of limitation
    6 Corporatising education: metrics, tools, and neoliberal skills
    Part III: Embodying justice, changing worlds
    7 White Mindfulness, Black Lives Matter, and social transformation
    8 Taking back the future: beyond Eurocentric temporality
    9 Disrupting space: the politics of pain and emotion
    10 Politicised twenty-first century mindfulness: creating futures of belonging
    Conclusion: embodied liberation and worldmaking


    Cathy-Mae Karelse (she/her) is a scholar-practitioner, changemaker and public speaker on issues of race, difference and belonging. She received a PhD from SOAS in 2019. Her work addresses all landscapes: the inner, outer and in-between. She is currently the DEI Lead at The Mindfulness Initiative and holds the position of Systems Change Lead at Resilience Capital Ventures. She works on policy and change programmes globally.

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