Surveillance Capitalism Discourse (Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis In “The Social Dilemma” Film)

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Alem Febri Sonni , Jawahirus Saniah , Vinanda Cinta Cendekia Putri


The Social Dilemma” is a documentary that uncovers the hidden machinations behind social media and search platforms. Therefore, this thesis aims to find out how the discourse of supervisory capitalism is shown in the film, as well as determine its microstructure, mesostructure, and macrostructure.

This is a qualitative research with a Critical Discourse Analysis model by Norman Fairclough comprising a multi-dimensional unit, such as text, discursive practice, and socio-cultural practice used for analysis. Furthermore, Jäger and Maier's model and a dispositive cycle of films showing dialogue, thought, actions or gestures, and discourse materialization were also utilized. Data were collected through observations, interviewing film directors, and related literature. The theory used is Shosana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism Theory and is supported by Karl Marx’s concepts of Alienation and False Consciousness.

From the analysis results, it is found that "The Social Dilemma" is a film that discloses the discourse of resistance to supervisory capitalism. These are identified through text indicating the availability of tech industry practices (social media), dispossession cycles, instilling false awareness, and data exploitation. The practice of discourse is also revealed through interviews with the director and the responses obtained from the audience as consumers of the work. The supervisory capitalism discourse contained in the film is also motivated by interrelated socio-cultural factors.

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