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Publication Title | Digital Nomadism

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For Foucault, the modern state was similar to a pastoral power in the way it manipulated and drove the subjects into submission. The only thing that slightly changed over the years, was the narrative which they use: while the church promised a better life in the next world, the state promised well-being and security in the present one. The state used a double binding combination of individualization and totalizing procedures, which make the liberation of the subject nearly impossible.
According to Foucault, much as we are all ourselves practitioners of Power, we are all nothing but voluntary subjects to a higher authority which can provide what we ask for, if we comply with its rules. However, Foucault did not believe that liberating the individual from the state was enough. On the contrary, one should try to be liberated both from the state, but also from the subtle forms of individualization which work as agents of submission that are linked to the state (Foucault & Sheridan, 1979).
The digital nomad experience provides an opportunity not only to explore what happens when professionals take their work on the road, but to ask questions about the sedentary power dynamics as well. As the “normal” notions of work, sociability, family and tourism are shaken, it is important to explore the disruption in existing power relationships between the mobile and sedentary worker (Bærenholdt, 2013). However, the nature of the Foucauldian power should not be analyzed as a one-way, negative and repressive force that subjugates and restricts.
If power was never anything but repressive, if it never did anything but to say no, do you really think one would be brought to obey it? What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it doesn’t only weigh on us as a force that says no; it also traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse. It needs to be considered as a productive network that runs through the whole social body, much more than as a negative instance whose function is repression. (Foucault & Rabinow, 1984, p. 61)
This misconception often stems from the fact that Foucault himself chose to exemplify his theories by us far more complex than simply than that. Aspects of power include the continuous surveillance of the subjects and the governance of their bodily conduct and sexuality (1990, 1995). These biopolitical measures come in the form of values, family and friend relationships
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