Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Fernández-Morales, M., Menéndez-Menéndez, M.I.
“When in Rome, Use What You’ve Got” : A Discussion of Female Agency through Orange Is the New Black
(2016) Television and New Media, 17 (6), pp. 534-546.

DOI: 10.1177/1527476416647493

Abstract
Drawing on the work of Lois McNay as a feminist extender of Foucault’s ideas about power and the possibility of resistance, this article offers a discussion of her theories of female agency as transferred onto Jenji Kohan’s TV adaptation of Piper Kerman’s prison autobiographical narrative Orange Is the New Black (2010). Situated within feminist epistemology, our approach is interdisciplinary, and we argue that the series is an instance of McNay’s neo-Foucauldian framework in practice, with her three dimensions of agency integrated in a critical discourse about life in women’s prisons. We contend that Kohan presents the protagonists as active subjects with potential for transformation. In our view, her narratives of resistance against the disciplinary practices of the institution can be read as political statements that promote consciousness-raising among viewers. © The Author(s) 2016.

Author Keywords
agency; Foucauldian feminism; resistance; TV series; women in prison

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