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‘My Inner French Girl: Translating the American Neoliberal Subject
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Education, Language, and Teaching.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9649-0873
2014 (English)In: “Fashion, Style, Appearance, Consumption and Design,”: Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA. April, 2014, 2014Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with the construction of the neoliberal subject in lifestyle and makeover books that present the Frenchwoman as a feminine ideal. For decades, waves of nonfiction publications in what Vanity Fair calls the “Frenchwomen Know Best” genre have regularly washed over the American book market, among them Debra Ollivier’s book Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl (2003). In Ollivier’s guide the “French” female body can be understood a locus of desire for control over both the body and the self. Such control is self-imposed, this paper argues, and consists of what Foucault refers to as a series of disciplinary practices, driven by the agendas and interests of neoliberal capitalism. Instead of working as a form of rationality, this type of self-governmentality is better understood as operating through a series of competencies, such as the personal, the affective and the aesthetic. In this manner, neoliberal capitalism allows for more flexible accumulation, which includes self-actualizing forms of action and consumption that are simultaneously moderated by a social critique. These competencies, and the social critique they incorporate, are the very competencies that Ollivier assigns to the ideal “Frenchwoman." The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the socially conscious consumerist subject in Ollivier’s book does not destabilize capitalism, but rather, helps the system to incorporate some of the values in whose names it is criticized.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keywords [en]
neoliberalism, fashion, French
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Didactics
Research subject
English, Specialization in Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66781OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66781DiVA, id: diva2:1160688
Conference
Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Available from: 2017-11-28 Created: 2017-11-28 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf