DTS200 Lecture #8 October 30, 2012
- What does this mean?
o A 20 century phenomena of the individual
o The media- how self-esteem is produced through the media.
o Campaign: “rethink beauty”- what is the angel here?
- Self-esteem is a question of interior space. This very interesting an old vocation of an interior
world which is of political significance.
o Self-esteem within the self which we are trying to control for something bigger and
I.e. Dove commercial.
- Oprah, self-esteem, and Dove
o Oprah provides us with a set of practices of how to esteem the self
- Diaspora, transnationalism and self-esteem
o Self-esteem could be positive for how you are placed and viewed in society
o With transnationalism- by picking Multi-national Corporation (dove and Oprah) exports
a specific view of where self-esteem should be at.
I.e. Oprah- her exporting notion of what self-esteem should look like.
We cannot forget Oprah herself has to be qualified as a black in the USA and her
exported notion of self-esteem
- Oprah Winfrey
o “What’s your true calling?”
o We want to think through these quizzes which are available in the Oprah magazine-
what are the politics they are producing
- Phil Donahue
o Who is he?
Celebrated day time talk show host in the 1980s.
Set up the stage for what day time television could look like. Oprah took over his
legacy on TV
- Major shifts in dialogue and assumptions in what becomes the expected level of debate in
o Phil Donahue vs. Oprah Winfrey
o Phil: Who has a problem? Where does the problem exist? America as nation has a
problem; it is an inner routing of an internal racial divide. Problems of America and its
history of slavery.
o Oprah: where you are today? Phil has a real vision of the public, and Oprah is not very
public it is her. The problem was the nation and now it is the problem of the self.
Consistently referencing to her. She talks about an internal tape- inner dialogue, which has a psychological and philosophical essence, and not being able to control oneself.
Choosing to change.
o We talk about self-esteem and interiority, Oprah is very successful in charting out
everyone’s inner world. What is wrong with us in a general sense?
- DTS vocabulary ** midterm
o Subjectivity- our subject, making us into subjects this is what Oprah does
o Aesthetic subjectivity
o Inner dialogue
- Social relationship/ political obligation
o Because I am a girl- self-esteem as a social relationship and a political obligation
o How is self-esteem a social relationship?
To function in society you need to cultivate a certain sense of self to be
considered productive. (i.e. all different kinds of institutions which keep people
in the economy)
Social relationships is not created in a vacuum- it is demanded within a
community (i.e. book clubs)
o Who is talking in this inner dialogue?
You within the self.
This dialogue is the social relationship.
Takes place for a certain reason- political
o How could self esteem be a political obligation?
Working assumption- the more self-esteem you have the more willing you are
to participate in society
Reading: more self-esteem would be better citizens
- Self-esteem and its relationship to diaspora and transnationalism
o Self-esteem becomes a side of intervention
i.e.: The new York Times, July 17, 1989
o the obligation becomes that one needs to cultivate self-esteem for the nation
it is a major part of the health care system
- as a political obligation
o self-esteem is an affect of larger structural issues
o The idea that America is routing because of its history of slave trade and then when the
problem is this inner dialogue.
- What is the politics in Dove commercial
o “believe in your own unique beauty and guide your daughter to believe in hers”
o Practices of self-esteem to provide a deep sense of belonging, and responsibility
o Implied political obligation? Why is your self-esteem and obligation? It is not just you feeling good about yourself but allowing your daughter to carry
that good self-esteem as well.
Generations of good self-esteemed citizens
- Political obligation
o Self esteem is a social vaccine against crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy,
child abuse, chronic welfare dependence, and educational failure...
- Social relationship
o Because it is you speaking with you and how you imagine yourself.
o It is also about subjectivity
o Interiority and affective states
o Synonym for interiority and affective states
o We already know what affect mean
o Oprah is concerned with your inner self and how you think about yourself and how you
o Oprah provides a series of practices for how to esteem the self and ones productivity
o In Christianity
How Augustine of Hippo recognizes the inner dialogue and rich conversation
between one self and one self
Ignatius of Layola – religious tradition that asks you to slow down and at
account of yourself in every day. 5 points that one must do. What is important is
the cultivation of an inner world. Accounting for one ’s self.
What is your true self?
Oprah plays on this
It takes time an effort to identify what the true self really is
o Ethics of subjectivity
“ in Greek ethics people were concerned with their moral conduct, their
ethics, their relations to themselves and to others...what they were
worried about, there them was to constitute a kind of ethics which was
an aesthetics of existence”
There is no reason to suggest that this is what Oprah is relying on, but
the practise that Oprah is asking to do, helps us with a certain kind of
vision of one’s life;
o “This elaboration of one’s own life as personal world of
fare..Was at the centre..Of moral experience, of the will to
To live is to create one’s self and this creation is the
centre of life o To think about; subjectivity, and how the self gets esteemed and if we know it is built on
a social relationship and political obligation we must look at parts when Orpah is asking
us to cultivate our lives.
o Example of Moderation (touches of Oprah)
How could moderation be an effort to cultivate the self?
To fit into society
What do you do without