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In this paper, I explore personal development practices in Bucharest.

The starting point of this analysis is


the relationship between it and the changes that occurred at economical level in Romania. The global shift
from the industrial to post-industrial economies and regional transition from a centrally planned economy
to a market-based one have introduced new expectations from employees. Personal development
products are advertised as suitable solutions for accomplishing these new expectations, focusing especially
on issues of personal flexibility. Personal development helps with the (re)construction of a person in order
to have a well-paid job in renowned company, social mobility, or create a thriving business, as well as
gaining a fulfilling relationship with significant others. Therefore, it can help overcome new social
impediments such as lack of communication skills, troubles finding the inner self or a positive attitude.

Through personal development are reiterated neoliberal values, the individuals are solely responsible for
their own fate and thus capable of improving it. Therefore, they become aware of their responsibility and
must be able to manipulate their entire universe according to their needs. The paper explores the relation
of these practices and their values and the participants and their social environment, while observing the
relationship between citizens, free market and the neoliberal state.

The paper is part of an ongoing research begun in 2010 with observation of the coaching scenery in
Bucharest and an ethnography of a personal development group for youngsters, and continues with
observation of participants in personal development practices.