Reconceptualizing subjectivity in critical social psychology: Turning to Foucault
(2013) Theory and Psychology, 23 (5), pp. 657-674.
This article focuses on a reading of Foucault which draws on “technologies of the self,” as opposed to “technologies of subjectivity,” and examines the relevance of this work for critical psychology. The article draws on consumerism to highlight the ways in which contemporary individuals understand, and are understood, through a desire to “know oneself.” Attention then turns to Foucault’s understanding of the precept “care for the self” to explore the ways in which this enables a reconceptualization of contemporary consumers as both positioned and capable of agency. The article argues that psychology could usefully benefit from an understanding of subjectivity that acknowledges existing power knowledge structures, whilst also looking for moments of resistance via individual techniques such as critical self-reflection, reciprocal relationships, and ultimately a “care of the self.” This article attempts to advance the interpretation of Foucault within critical psychology and suggest an alternative for theorizing subjectivity. © The Author(s) 2013.
Foucault; philosophy; social psychology; subjectivity; theory