The Performative Constitution of Liberal Totalitarianism on Facebook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The twenty-first century is often perceived as the century of personal freedom. Unlike the economic freedom of the nineteenth century and the political freedom of the twentieth century, this particular brand of freedom is seen as no longer confined to civic realms, political or bureaucratic structures, nor, in fact, interpellative of a particular moral philosophy.1 Instead it is seen as enabling individuals to choose the very standards by which to live their life. A considerably less enthusiastic account of personal freedom and, in particular, of its relation to choice, is given by the psychologist Barry Schwartz and the philosopher Renata Salecl, authors of The Paradox of Choice and The Tyranny of Choice, respectively. For Schwartz, the widespread belief that the way to maximise individual freedom is to maximise choice is an ill-fated impasse. Not only do hundreds of brands of biscuits, broadband providers, and insurance policies have a paralysing rather than a liberating effect on the individual, they furthermore decrease rather than increase satisfaction levels, much like they increase, rather than decrease disappointment levels. The reason for this are mostly ‘opportunity costs’, the fact that the decision to follow path A invariably results in the lost opportunity to follow path B.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationŽižek and Performance
EditorsBroderick Chow, Alex Mangold
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-40319-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-349-48913-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NamePerformance Philosophy
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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