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Government of oneself and others via a Facebook profile : Rhetorical and ethical dimensions of neoliberal governmentality

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The thesis of this article is that neoliberal governmentality, rather than means of coercion, uses various means of persuasion and ethical obligation. This is demonstrated by analyzing the discourse of the “Dr Mateusz Grzesiak” Facebook profile. It encourages individuals to utilize personal development techniques and promotes the neoliberal concept of the subject. Thus, this article explores the ideas proposed within studies of governmentality and supplements them with the perspectives offered by rhetoric culture theory. The profile of one of Poland’s most recognizable personal development coaches can be seen as a materialisation of neoliberal governmentality as well as a symbolic system used as an instrument of persuasion. It can be analysed through the dramatistic approach proposed by Kenneth Burke as well as the Aristotelian idea of ethos, Jean Nienkamp’s notions of internal and external rhetoric, and the concept of argumentation by model and example proposed by Cha├»m Perelman.

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Keywords: dramatism; ethics; neoliberal governmentality; personal development practices; rhetoric; rhetoric culture theory; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2020

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