Discursive Technologies in the Psychological Government of Subjectivities: Happiness and Resilience in Times of Neoliberalism

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Francisco Antar MARTINEZ GUZMAN, University of Colima, Mexico
During the last decades there has been a significant proliferation of psychological discourses linked to the notions of 'happiness' and 'resilience', related to the so-called 'positive psychology' in vogue today. These notions have become important references in different areas of social life, being continuously deployed in professional practices, media, institutional management and public policies. In particular, such notions have become central to a growing therapeutic culture articulating numerous devices of social and subjective regulation (i.e. self-help literature, coaching, popular culture). This paper seeks to analyse how these discourses on 'happiness' and 'resilience' take part in psychological technologies governing subjectivity, understanding them as particular regimes of truth defining the relationship of the subjects with themselves and with others. It explores how such discourses construct a certain model of psychological subject and promote specific social relations inscribed in a matrix of power. In particular, the paper discusses the relationship between these discourses and a neoliberal rationality for the government of behaviour and subjectivity in contemporary capitalism. Through discursive analysis of some psychological materials typical of the therapeutic culture in the Mexican context, we examine the way in which the use of such languages and symbolic repertoires is consonant with the neoliberal logic that promotes a subject as 'entrepreneur of himself'. Such an approach allows us to understand recent discourses about 'happiness' and 'resilience' as social practices with a significant impact on the psychological management and regulation of individuals in the contemporary social world.