Happiness As a Governmental Dispositive in Neoliberal Societies: The Case of Latin American and Mexican Contexts

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:55
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Francisco Antar MARTINEZ GUZMAN, Universidad de Colima, Mexico
During the last decade there has been a rapid proliferation of scientific and cultural discourses about "happiness" as a key concept to define social development and subjective well-being. Such discourses are present in social contexts as diverse as health sciences, mass media, public policy and organizational culture. This paper discusses the way in which the notion of "happiness" may be playing an important role in the production and regulation of new forms of subjectivity well suited to the ethos of contemporary neoliberal capitalism. Drawing on a foucauldian theoretical perspective, this paper analyzes the particular modes in which the widespread appeal and stimulation to happiness produces specific psychological models and promotes specific forms of relation of individuals with themselves. Specifically, the paper focuses on how these discourses have been received and operate in the Latin American geopolitical context with special emphasis on the Mexican context. Finally, the paper concludes examining the relationship between this form of governmentality over subjectivity and the reproduction of sociopolitical inequality and domination in the discussed contexts.