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Illouz is not trying to deny power and its effects, but she does argue for a more complex attitude which does not subscribe to one single principle of hegemony and does allow for some agency.
Illouz offers an analysis of Oprah which attempts to bring into account the moral capacity of all participating agents. Following Boltanski Illouz argues that representations of misery arouse a-priori suspicion, and therefore as the gain some sort of moral credentials which will provide it with acceptability. When relating to Oprah Illouz hold that repetitive display of misery along with the use of central moral values and symbols is what allows Oprah to be beyond suspicion of a cynical exploitation of people's misfortune.
Illouz argues that Oprah has resolved to problem of being under suspicion by constructing misery in a narrative of transformation and personal change. Oprah has crossed the line from entertainment into the realm of active social, through personal, transformation.
Illouz observes how Oprah mixes New Age spirituality and popular psychology in order to introduce themes of personal change, communicative to all viewers. Oprah, for Illuoz, offers not only a specific vision of a healthy life, but also the means of achieving them. Misfortune in Oprah has one end and that is to bring about closure in the form of personal transformation. The victim is made to be a strong person who copes with his troubles and comes out triumphant.
part 1 - 2