Kapitalizam, ekologija i zdravstvo

Na paralelnoj sesiji 5B međunarodne konferencije „Communication, Capitalism and Social Change: Policy, Practice, Praxis“ pod nazivom „Kapitalizam, ekologija i zdravstvo“ održana su tri izlaganja. Ivana Matteucci naglasila je potencijal društvenih mreža kao aktivističkog alata u emancipaciji pacijenata na primjeru zagovaranja nove metode liječenja multiple skleroze. Janaki Somaiya propitala je ulogu ideologije na društvenim mrežama u sustavima reprezentacije kasnog kapitalizma kroz psihoanalitičko-semiotički teorijski okvir, na primjeru dijeljenja turističkih fotografija. Diana Jacobsson iznijela je kritiku normalizacije neoliberalnih politika u diskursima održivosti koji se plasiraju u obliku javnih informacija, kroz analizu nominalno demokratizacijskog projekta municipalnih časopisa građana u Švedskoj.

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8.9.2018., Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu

Međunarodna konferencija „Communication, Capitalism and Social Change: Policy, Practice, Praxis“

Paralelna sesija 5B „Kapitalizam, ekologija, zdravstvo“

Izlaganja: Ivana Matteucci, Janaki Somaiya, Diana Jacobsson

Moderira: Tatiana Mazali

 

Communication for “Patient Liberation”. The Role of New Media in the Case of CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

 

Ivana Matteucci, University of Urbino

 

In Western societies, it seems necessary to reflect on the dominant medical model, which often assigns the patient a marginal position with respect to political and economic issues. The case of the recent Italian scientific discovery of CCSVI (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency) as a possible cause of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), appears emblematic and indicative of how the disclosure and dissemination of a new discovery that could prove decisive for patients, has been opposed by official medicine, represented here by the traditional neurological approach, while it has found its greatest diffusion online, through the mobilization produced mostly by worldwide patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

 

The article examines some opportunities for change observable in the communication of new media, which in our case have become weapons in favour of a possible “patient liberation”. “Liberation Treatment” has, in fact, been defined as the treatment resulting from scientific discovery, consisting in the removal of venous obstructions by angioplasty, and “Liberation War” is the name given to the action of patients with MS requesting the recognition of the new treatment.

 

The methodologies used are online patients survey and doctor interviews; the analysis of documents and texts produced online by doctors and patients. It was found that web tools play a significant role in the dissemination of information and in raising patients’ awareness, in developing mutual support and in the production of collective actions, and finally, in generating a shift in public opinion towards a “liberation” recognized to patients.

 

Travel and Enjoy Capitalism: Rethinking Ideology Today in the Context of Social Media

 

Janaki Somaiya, University of Auckland

 

There has rarely been any systematic exploration of ideology and social media since the recent years of growth of big data and social media giants like Facebook. Although Althusser’s concept of interpellation was essential to understanding the hegemonic nature of media production and viewership for older forms of media, social media have been kept out of this thread of conceptualization owing to the nature of its content and of users now being able to produce content. The contention here is that an omission of ideology critique in analyzing social media is a denial of the real subsumption of culture and subjectivity within late capitalism. This paper begins by rethinking Louis Althusser’s notion of ideology as a step toward a more contemporaneous understanding of ideology utilizing a psychoanalyticsemiotic theoretical framework. While a Lacanian – Zizekian intervention explores the status of ‘enjoyment’ as the main object of ideological discourse today offering an understanding of how subjectivity is constructed, a semiotic analysis of the images shared online identifies precisely the social signifying practices that make representation possible. Clicking and sharing of images online is an act of communication and to that intent it is a signifying act. Semiotics then helps to identify what representations and significations are normalized. A psychoanalytic-semiotic method is put forth, along with examples from a case study on travel images shared by users on social media, as a way to situate the subject within late capitalism without isolating their subjective positions and the structures that enclose them.

 

Any current understanding of ideology cannot disavow the existence of neoliberalism and how it engulfs subjects and the way in which subjects relate to the social world. While subjects today are constantly interpellated by an injunction to ‘Enjoy!’ following Zizek, there are coinciding claims that only a neoliberal economic, social and legal framework can fulfil these desires to enjoy oneself. As Althusser argues, it is the phantasmal structure of the imagined relations which interpellates subjects into the capitalist schema. Subjects under neoliberalism are suffused by their Imaginary relationship to the ideology of “free market”. If social media is free to use and users can now share whatever they like and like what everyone else shares, how can one be inscribed by any ideology? It is to be remembered that ideology does not work through coercion but through subjects recognizing themselves within an ideological framework. While “free” is definitely the buzzword for the neoliberal markets, enjoyment is that kernel that underpins this ideology. Capitalism demands a happy consciousness, no matter if your mortgage or debts are too high, you deserve a holiday! Precarious work is marketed as being liberating, so that we can fulfil our ‘#wanderlust’ and travel to exotic locations to upload images to our Instagram accounts. While analysing social media, it is argued here that though the creation and sharing of images, videos and other such content by users online is not in itself an ideological practice, it nonetheless exists and is supported by the systems of representation within late capitalism.

 

In the Name of Sustainability. A Critical Analysis of the Parallel Shaping of Hyper-Politicized Discourses About Private Enterprise – and the Trivialization of Socioeconomic Challenges in a Swedish Municipal Magazine

 

Diana Jacobsson, Jönköping University

 

This paper examines sustainable development discourses while addressing the neoliberal structures within which these discourses take place. The analysis focuses on public information in the case of municipality citizen magazines with the (democratic) assignment to communicate sustainability visions and actions to the local residents. It is argued here that these sustainability discourses hold an inherent conflict and perform the paradoxical act of being political in a neutral way. It has been pointed out that public information texts highlighting the subject of sustainability avoid more confrontational class politics by focusing on collaboration and consensus that wishes to emphasize the non-ideological character of sustainability (Raco and Lin, 2012). One possible dilemma arising in this technical, consensual part of authority communication is how to discursively approach issues in the sociopolitical context that can have a negative impact on sustainability. According to Fuchs (2017) questions about capitalism and class are largely neglected when actions that support increased sustainability are being promoted within our society. The aim of this paper is therefore to examine how communication practices maneuver discursively in the paradox of putting the accent on sustainable solutions while being situated within a neoliberal context where unsustainability in terms of gaps between different social groups is increasing. Following the work of scholars in the tradition of Frankfurt School ideology critique who argue that sustainability in fact is highly ideological (e.g. Luke, 2005, Redclift and Woodgate, 2013, Fuchs, 2017) underlying assumptions about class and capitalism in mainstream sustainability discourses will be analyzed.

 

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