Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Rose, J., Spencer, C.
Immaterial labour in spaces of leisure: producing biopolitical subjectivities through Facebook
(2015) Leisure Studies, 18 p.

DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1031271

This research critically examines ways in which highly popular yet relatively under theorised leisure experiences inform and are informed by the social and political governance of our everyday lives. Specifically, online social networking, as seen through Facebook, actively produces leisure spaces, even if these spaces are primarily constituted through their discursive dimensions. By introducing the critical lenses of Marx’s notion of immaterial labour and Foucault’s biopolitics, we describe the ways in which leisure engagement with Facebook produces new forms of often hidden labour from users, thereby further contributing to the biopolitical control over many of our everyday experiences. These increasingly nuanced assemblages of leisure–labour relationships further destabilise any contention that leisure and labour are distinct sociological dimensions in people’s lives. We consider ways in which Facebook can counter various problematic hegemonic global structures, incorporating Hardt and Negri’s hopeful ideas of the multitude as a form of resistance toward global neoliberal capitalism. From this critical perspective, we explicitly politicise Facebook and layer the ways in which Facebook is currently working (and not working) with Hardt and Negri’s ideas of a more-realised democracy in order to illuminate some of the flaws in Facebook’s structure and typical operation. Such overtly critical scholarship can contribute to further positioning leisure as a dynamic social institution that constantly becomes conscripted into capitalist structures in increasingly covert ways. Such politicised understandings of leisure, broadly, and individuals’ social media experiences, more specifically, offer substantial direction for leisure understanding, scholarship and critique. © 2015 Taylor & Francis

Author Keywords
capitalism; Foucault; Hardt and Negri; Marx; multitude

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