Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 12-7-2017

Major Department or Program

Rhetoric Studies


Heather A. Hayes; Matthew Bost


Neoliberalism privatizes social problems by severing the individual from the collective. This extends to human expressions of feeling. As a result, the neoliberal state captures potentially collective expressions of feeling as individual sentiments, dampening the possibility for collective political expression. This process is represented and sustained by what I term “the feelings industry.” To better understand how the feelings industry functions and explore some features of a space where it might be resisted, I turn to a performance by artist Marina Abramović. I argue that Abramović’s The Artist is Present (2010) produces a space with vast potential for collective expression of affect; it serves as a constructed invitation to dwell in public feeling. Through the experience of collective presence, bodies within this space may resist neoliberal privatization of feeling.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Abramović, Marina‚ Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky‚ Gregg, Melissa‚ Seigworth, Gregory J., 1961- ‚ Ahmed, Sara‚ Cvetkovich, Ann, 1957- ‚ Neoliberalism‚ Performance art -- Exhibitions‚ Rhetoric‚ Emotions -- Sociological aspects‚ Affect (Psychology)‚ Social problems‚ Expressionism (Art)‚ Privatization‚ Individualism‚ Whitman College 2018 -- Dissertation collection -- Rhetoric Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

Rhetoric Commons



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