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Fetishization of the autonomous self: responsible consumption, excess and redemption as commodity

Grant number: 07/07355-8
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2008 - August 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:Isleide Arruda Fontenelle
Grantee:Isleide Arruda Fontenelle
Host Institution: Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (EAESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Although the ideology of self autonomous has been in the centre of the modern project, it has gained new outlines after the second half of the 20th century, when it began to delineate the society we today denominate as limitless. In that society, the fetishization of the self autonomous is exacerbated in the sense that it proposes the individual to be capable of self managing themselves and also does not recognize any bonds to their project of self construction. Certainly, the consumption field was fertile in propagating such ideology from the imperative that it was, not only something possible, but also compulsory by the motto enjoyment at any cost. However, despite the pretense of autonomy, the consumption field has never seemed to suggest, explicitly, the consumers have to assume the responsibility for their acts. On the contrary, historically, the consume sphere was constructed far from the public eye and discourse which were centred on a consumer self control policy. In the last decade, a new powerful discourse emerged: a discourse concerning responsible consumption that may require a new relationship between the consumer and the consume act. The aim of this project is to investigate the responsible consume discourse in relation to the environment, so as to understand the discursive turnover. Two magazines with economics content, the British The Economist and the Brazilian Exame, are used as analysis object. The aim is to investigate how the responsible consume discourse in relation to the environment, from 1996 to 2007, was constructed and unfolded. These years are paradigmatic to understand the discursive turnover because the consumption excesses started to be considered responsible for the environment degradation. The purpose is to apprehend, to what extent, such discourse suggests a return to the universe of social prohibition and guiltiness that seemed to have been banned in a society where almost all the social limits were ruptured, and also how it can generate a new commodity: the redemption. (AU)

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