(Bio)Power to the People? Harnessing Potential in the Creative and Cultural Workplace

  • Nicole S. Cohen Communication and Culture, York University


By now, glamourous accounts of work in creative and new media industries are common: foosball tables, kitchens stocked with junk food, on-site laundry services, and office complexes that seem more like playgrounds than worksites. This paper considers the practices of these creative and cultural workplaces through Foucault’s notion of biopolitics. A conception of biopolitics as the maintenance and regulation of life itself (Foucault, 1978) can account for these practices as strategies designed to harness the potentiality of labour power and channel it into production for capital accumulation. Although new media workplaces may seem “fun,†some tactics of these workplaces may be better understood as strategies of control, designed to facilitate the self-governing, self-regulating, productive worker.

Author Biography

Nicole S. Cohen, Communication and Culture, York University
Nicole Cohen is a PhD student in the graduate program in communication and culture at York University, where she studies political economy of media and labour. Her work on Facebook has been published in Democratic Communique and Feminist Media Studies. Nicole is the co-founder of Shameless Magazine and is involved in several media-related projects, including Media Action and Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.
How to Cite
Cohen, N. (1). (Bio)Power to the People? Harnessing Potential in the Creative and Cultural Workplace. Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 1(2), 71–86. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/stream/index.php/stream/article/view/30
Research in Brief (Peer-Reviewed)