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The promotional regime of visibility: ambivalence and contradiction in strategies of dominance and resistance

Jiménez-Martínez, César ORCID: 0000-0002-2921-0832 and Edwards, Lee ORCID: 0000-0001-6542-1234 (2023) The promotional regime of visibility: ambivalence and contradiction in strategies of dominance and resistance. Communication and the Public, 8 (1). 14 - 28. ISSN 2057-0473

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Identification Number: 10.1177/20570473221146661


In this article, we explore the tensions and blurred boundaries between dominance and resistance in promotional contexts by critically examining the notion of ‘visibility’, a commonly used yet largely unproblematised concept within the field of promotion. More specifically, we argue that contemporary promotional industries sustain and perpetuate a post-panoptical ‘regime of visibility’ underpinned by three modalities: (1) visibility as recognition, which associates being watched with empowerment while downplaying it as surveillance; (2) visibility as transient, which stresses visibility as a scarce resource that requires continuous work; and (3) and visibility as an end-goal, that is, as an end in itself rather than means to achieve something else. Acknowledging the existence of this regime opens up avenues for a productive analysis of the coexistence and mutual constitution of dominance and resistance within promotion in the digitalised communication environment, beyond debates about ‘authenticity’ or ‘woke washing’. We note that promotional industries structure visibility as a desirable and even inevitable requirement for both reinforcing and reconfiguring social arrangements. Consequently, they foster a mirage that celebrates the actions of individuals without actually producing meaningful change, while obscuring invisibility as an equally valid strategy of resistance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2022 14:09
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 03:03

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