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Revista Mal Estar e Subjetividade

Print version ISSN 1518-6148


ROCHA, Silvia Pimenta Velloso. "Be yourself": media, consumerism and subjectivity. Rev. Mal-Estar Subj. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.4, pp. 1619-1638. ISSN 1518-6148.

Based on the theoretical framework proposed by Foucault, several authors analyze the media as an instance of subjectivity production, stressing, in particular, its normative character and its dis-ciplinary function. This type of analysis, however, does not seem to account for a feature in-creasingly present in contemporary advertising - which moves away from an explicitly prescriptive or normative role towards a "libertarian" or permissive discourse: either proposing a diversity of styles or identities, either assuming itself a "subversive" or "antiestablishment" role. Its structure can no longer be summed by the maxim "be like that", as it operates more and more by the maxim "be as you like" - or, ultimately, "be yourself". If from the standardization point of view what counts is the suitability to certain stereotypes, the point that interests us here is precisely the one in which the media itself assumes a disruptive, "subversive" or stereotypes critic's role Using Slavoj Žižek reflections and some of Foucault's concepts, the article investigates how this scenario places the subject in a new control mode and how this anti-prescriptive rhetoric indicates a new kind of subjection. The "be yourself", that prevails in the media and in advertising discourse, indicates freedom in so far as it implies a duty: the individual must "have an identity", i.e., must constitute himself as a subject and express his "truth".

Keywords : Subjectivity; media; Zizek; Foucault.

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