This article challenges the Foucauldian conception of the neoliberal subject by addressing self-promotion as a key feature of users' engagement with social media websites. The essay argues that the rational choice rhetoric of neoliberal entrepreneurialism involves a process of further objectivizing and reifying—rather than producing—the subject by increasingly commodifying the time spent outside of paid labor. The neoliberal idea of investing in one's human capital is compared to the Marxian category of the reproduction of labor-power, which, in the neoliberal context, is subdivided into the time spent on the promotion of the Self. Social media help to facilitate the latter by providing a material space for self-promotion and result in the expansion of working time into what Jonathan Crary calls “24/7 temporalities.” The arguments made here are aided by developing a neo-Lacanian conception—in opposition to the Foucauldian one—of neoliberal subjectivity.
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Matthew Flisfeder; The Entrepreneurial Subject and the Objectivization of the Self in Social Media. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2015; 114 (3): 553–570. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3130745
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