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Satire and self-help : the satirical potential of the self-help industry

Carpenter, Felicity (2005) Satire and self-help : the satirical potential of the self-help industry. Masters by Research by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This thesis combines a play, Getting Betterer all the Time, a satire about self-help, and an exegesis examining the possibilities that self-help offers for satire and why. The self-help industry has evolved into a massive social and economical phenomenon. The scope of self-help is constantly expanding, indicating a society of individuals desperate for help in all facets of life. As this movement has become more prevalent, self-help has attracted criticism for the way it thrives on the exploitation of people's insecurities. By playing to people's aspirations, many self-help practitioners have become wealthy, but there is a danger that some self-help products can have a harmful effect on people, and at best give rise to an insufferable hubris. Consequently, we have witnessed a rise in popular texts that spoof the self-help industry. The excesses of the self-help industry make it an easy target for satire. Self-help is well matched to satire's function to provide social commentary by ridicule of targets causing harm to the well-being of society. Self-help is an appropriate subject for satire because of its focus on social behavior such as modern parenting, consumerism and status anxiety. Self-help, in addition to providing these opportunities for social commentary, also offers much comedic potential.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16159
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Glover, Stuart& Makeham, Paul
Keywords: self-help, satire, comedy, play script
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 13:57
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:44

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