Self-Help in Times of Corona: Vigilance vs. Positive Thinking?

by Loredana Filip

Leaflet in shopwindow, 23.04.2020, Munich. Photograph: Alina Enzensberger

A battle between fear and hope, anxiety and positivity, panic and opportunity. This is how the coronavirus crisis is sometimes depicted. Not only as a battle against a virus, but also an inner struggle between our feelings of hope and anxiety. This dichotomous perspective may be better understood if we consider the culture of self-help, which is bent on overcoming negative feelings. Finding routines, creating to-do lists, acquiring new skills or habits and even starting your own ‘side hustle,’ self-help explodes online. Motivational speakers give tips and advice on how to deal with stress and anxiety. From quarantine workout plans to meditation, building mental resilience or finding opportunities to grow, calls for personal development abound online. A few critical voices also begin to emerge: see for example the call to “stop romanticizing lockdown”.

But does positivity hinder the vigilance of citizens who are expected to be more careful than ever? Self-Help in Times of Corona: Vigilance vs. Positive Thinking? weiterlesen


Der Blog des Sonderforschungsbereichs 1369 “Vigilanzkulturen” der LMU München soll den Mitgliedern und externen AutorInnen Gelegenheit geben, über aktuelle Forschungen zu Vigilanz Beiträge zu veröffentlichen. “Vigilanz” steht für die Verknüpfung persönlicher Aufmerksamkeit mit überindividuellen Zielen. Dies geschieht alltäglich im Bereich der Sicherheit, des Rechts, des Gesundheitswesens oder auch der Religionen: überall dort, wo wir auf etwas achten, gegebenenfalls auch etwas tun oder melden sollen. Der SFB 1369 untersucht die Geschichte, kulturellen Varianten und aktuellen Formen dieses Phänomens.

The blog of the Collaborative Research Center 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance” at LMU Munich is supposed to give researchers and external authors the opportunity to publish blog posts about their current research on vigilance and related topics. The CRC 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance” aims to research the historical and cultural foundations of vigilance. Within this context, “vigilance” refers to a linking of individual attentiveness to goals set by others. This linking occurs on an everyday basis, be it in the realm of public security, religion, law, or the healthcare sector; wherever and whenever we are asked to pay attention to something specific and, if necessary, also to react to, or report anything we have noticed in a specific way. The CRC’s goal is to analyse the history, cultural variations and current forms of this phenomenon.