Performing Governance: Dragons' Den and the Practice of Judgment

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


In this paper I analyse the role played by a particular reality TV format, the popular UK „business pitch‟ program Dragons’ den, to consider the work of television in not only valorising a culture of enterprise, but serving as an effective governmental technology. In doing so, I argue for the need to move beyond both the question of realism versus artifice, on one hand, and a mere focus on the work of „representation‟ on the other. To do so, I draw on arguments regarding how forms of neo-liberalism not only accept, but embrace, the constructed nature of social life. Similarly, like other entrepreneurial formats, Dragon’s den not only erases both the boundaries between external reality and television‟s games, but also largely disregards traditional concerns for naturalism in favour of a self-conscious display of performance as a characteristic of both television and reality. However, while this can be (and has been) read as providing representational support for neo-liberal ideology, it can also be read as merely one aspect of its performance as a neo-liberal technology. I focus on Dragons’ den as a text that becomes both intelligible and pleasurable through the organisation of a particular mode of normative judgement. In this respect, it is one among many neo-liberal technologies that position individuals as both bearers of, and constantly subject to, a disciplinary gaze that both produces and rationalises an economy of reward and punishment as a mundane feature of contemporary socio-political relations
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCSAA 2011 Conference Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationCultural ReOrientations and Comparative Colonialities
EditorsGilbert Caluya, Nahid Afrose Kabir, Kam Kaur, Shvetal Vyas
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherInternational Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780987407603
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventChinese Studies Association of Australia CSAA 2011 - Cultural ReOrientations and Comparative Colonialities - Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 13 Jul 201115 Jul 2011


ConferenceChinese Studies Association of Australia CSAA 2011 - Cultural ReOrientations and Comparative Colonialities
Abbreviated titleCSAA 2011


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