“Treat Yo’ Self” - The Commodification and Co-Option of Activist Self-Care
Ceri’s research explores the neoliberal commodification, co-option and arguable appropriation of activist self-care. This project, whilst certainly academic in method and form, is also a practical inquiry into viable, sustainable alternatives to the current cultural positioning of self-care.
Her research seeks to: conduct a historiography of self-care as a tool of resistance; identify any disconnect between current corporate self-care offerings and the self-care needs of activist communities; highlight the encroaching aestheticisation and apoliticisation upon a foundationally resistant act; and ask what, if any, countercultures are emerging as a response to this shift.
At the time of writing this profile, it is her intention that much of this work will focus on dominant neoliberal discourses, mechanisms of control, exclusion and inclusion, performativity and spectacle, the depoliticisation of acts of resistance, and normalisation of consumerist and productivity doctrines. It is likely that a multi-method approach will be employed in undertaking this study, combining the qualitative research of discourse analysis, phenomenological methods (interviews and focus groups) and
quantitative statistical analysis techniques to evaluate data collected via surveys.
Her research is funded by the LSE’s prestigious 'Analysing and Challenging Inequalities' Studentship.
Ceri is keen to hear from an array of topic stakeholders : activist individuals, communities and organisations; academics whose research complements or challenges the work of this project; commercial ventures that utilise narratives of self-care as part of their business; and anyone interested in possible collaboration, event, or speaking opportunities.
Prior to embarking on a PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Ceri Calonmôr (née Jenkins) spent a decade working in both the higher education sector and the creative industries and as an independent EDI consultant. She also has extensive involvement in a plethora of activist communities and campaigns.
In 2017 Ceri graduated from the LSE with an MSc in Politics and Communication (Distinction), submitting a thesis entitled ‘ Between Sisters and Cisters: Trans Women, Feminist Identity Formation, and Online Exclusions ’. This work examined the academic, cultural, and personal discourse surrounding the position of transgender women within contemporary feminism. Crucially, the study sought to frame the research not only in terms of theoretical perspectives but also from a place of lived-experience;
conducting and analysing interviews with trans women and trans feminist activists who had come into contact with trans-exclusionary feminist ideology online.
In 2014 Ceri concluded a four year (including industry placement) BSc in Politics and International Relations at the University of Bath. Her undergraduate dissertation was entitled ‘ iCampaign: Social Media and the Evolving Nature of Third Sector Engagement ’ and drew upon first hand research undertaken in collaboration with 40 third-sector UK organisations.
Alongside her academic studies and professional experiences, Ceri is a passionate intersectional activist and speaker, particularly on LGBTQ+ issues, gender equality and (as a cancer survivor herself) healthcare access and disability rights. Her campaigning work has been featured in an array of media, including the BBC, the Independent, the Guardian, ITV, the Telegraph and more. She was also employed as a columnist for Europe's leading magazine for LGBTQI women, Diva Magazine.
Both she and her campaigning group were awarded a Bath City Mayoral Recognition in 2016 and invited to contribute to a governmental enquiry into existing legislation (Women and Equalities Committee, 2016) around greater support regarding transgender and non-binary rights in the United Kingdom. Since then she has gone on to work with a number of third sector organisations, including the Fawcett Society, the Eve Appeal, and the Women of the World Festival.
Supervisors: Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser and Professor Shani Orgad