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Parody of political correctness or allegory of “Immaterial Labour”? A second look at Francis Veber’s Le Placard (2001)

Lane, Jeremy F.

Authors

JEREMY LANE jeremy.lane@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of French & Critical Theory



Abstract

This article questions whether readings of Francis Veber’s Le Placard (2001) as simply a parody of political correctness have tended to overlook the allegorical significance of its depiction of a middle-aged executive forced to pretend to be gay, simulating libidinal investments he does not in fact possess, in order to protect his job. It argues that the film merits re-interpretation as being not only a parody of political correctness but also a powerful allegory for the increasing demands placed on employees to invest their most personal affects and aptitudes in their work. Drawing on the work of Yann Moulier Boutang, the article interprets such demands as symptomatic of a regime of ‘cognitive capitalism’, in which ‘immaterial’ forms of labour represent the primary source of surplus value. The article thus offers an alternative reading of the film’s treatment of questions of work, gender, sexuality, family, and nation, before situating Le Placard in the context of a broader range of recent French filmic representations of the contemporary workplace.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2015
Journal French Cultural Studies
Print ISSN 0957-1558
Electronic ISSN 1740-2352
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
APA6 Citation Lane, J. F. (2015). Parody of political correctness or allegory of “Immaterial Labour”? A second look at Francis Veber’s Le Placard (2001). French Cultural Studies, 26(4), https://doi.org/10.1177/0957155815597426
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0957155815597426
Keywords Le Placard (2001); political correctness; immaterial labour; cognitive capitalism; Yann Moulier Boutang; work; gender; sexuality; family; nation.
Publisher URL http://frc.sagepub.com/content/26/4/404
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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