Empowerment as an affective-discursive technology in contemporary capitalism : insights from a play
Nissi, Riikka; Dlaske, Kati (2019). Empowerment as an affective-discursive technology in contemporary capitalism : insights from a play. Critical Discourse Studies, Early online. DOI: 10.1080/17405904.2019.1649161
Published inCritical Discourse Studies
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© 2019, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Over recent years, an increasing body of research in social and cultural studies has investigated the contemporary processes of social change from the point of view of affective capitalism. In this article, we take under scrutiny one of its technologies, namely, empowerment, by which we mean a state characterised by feelings of strength, ability and power that enable agency. More specifically, we investigate the way empowerment is presented in a cultural product, a play that tells a story about personnel training in a factory, shown in a city theatre in Finland. By linking recent theorisation of affective capitalism with an investigation of the intertextual and interdiscursive relations of the play, we analyse how the factory workers’ pursuit for good life through empowerment recycles and exploits the affective-discursive elements of sexual and spiritual awakening. In conclusion, we discuss the play as a reflection of and on contemporary social processes. By presenting empowerment as a technology employed to interpellate in particular female subjects, the play contributes to the critique of neoliberalism as a gendered project, with women as its ideal subjects. ...