Dominique Roux est invitée au séminaire de recherche international MERCUR à Lille 2, aujourd’hui jeudi 2 avril, sur le thème « Power and Consumption ».
Elle y présentera son papier intitulé “Governing the consumer: how powerful are dispositifs of power?”.
My presentation aims to show the complex and paradoxical nature of power in the context of consumption. In outlining its main elements of definitions, I first depart from the political, substantive, structural, vertical, and repressive nature of power to emphasize its relational, relative, situated, horizontal and productive orientations. Then, I argue that in addressing the question of power, previous research has mainly cultivated an ideological discursive view of power and comparatively neglected its material dimensions. By considering power as exerted through dispositifs, i.e. assemblages of discourses, moral propositions, and material arrangements (Agamben 2009; Raffnsøe 2008), I develop the idea that power is both powerful and fragile. On the one hand, it is presented as governing consumers by the means of subjectivation, individuation and prescription (Beckett 2012; Foucault 2004) and on the other hand it relies on multiple actants that do not necessarily behave or perform consistently. I conclude that in dispositifs the distributed nature of power constitutes its Achilles heel where potential inconsistencies are made visible and power can thus become resistible.
Agamben, Giorgio (2009), What Is an Apparatus? And Other Essays, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Beckett, Antony (2012), “Governing the consumer: technologies of consumption,” Consumption Markets and Culture, 15 (March), 1–18.
Foucault, Michel (2004) Sécurité, territoire, population. Cours au Collège de France (1977-1978), Paris: Editions EHESS.
Raffnsøe, Sverre (2008), “Qu’est-ce qu’un dispositif ? L’analytique sociale de Michel Foucault, ” Symposium: Revue Canadienne de philosophie continentale, 12 (1), 44–66.