Bio-politicizing consumption: neo-liberal consumerism and disembodiment in the food marketplace
(2016) Consumption Markets and Culture, 19 (3), pp. 275-295.
How consumerism proliferates in society is central to consumer culture studies, yet little research has examined the power of consumerist discourses in shaping consumption at the intersection of marketing with State regulation. Drawing on Foucault’s notions of governmentality and bio-power, a discourse analysis is conducted of food date labeling regulation. The study problematizes how labeling actualizes a form of neo-liberal consumerism within manufacturing and retail in which consumption is enacted as a site of bio-political control. Labeling, it is argued, fosters unsustainable excess consumption in the name of life and health of people by temporalizing and standardizing consumption, as well as disembodying the marketplace as an area for knowledge creation in consumption. Accordingly, the study discusses two processes “bio-politicizing” consumption that seek to dispense responsibility and re-distribute embodied consumption competence. Finally, it highlights the potential in people to resist such consumerism by developing alternative subjectivities and embodiments in the marketplace. © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
bio-power; Consumerism; food date labeling; governmentality; state regulation; the body