'In the early 1980s, Michel Foucault wrote that in the face of institutional and state violence and of massive ideological pressures, the central question of our time remained 'Who are we?' [...]. Foucault claimed that in previous epochs, the struggle against domination and exploitation had taken center stage. Now, for an increasing number of people, the fight was against subjection, against the submission of subjectivity. According to Foucault, this circumstance called for a rigorous and historicizing interrogation of power as exerted and experienced. Subjectivity - that multilayered construction of selfhood imagined, performed and assigned - was proposed as the current site of struggle that mattered most. The assertion of 'who we are', particularly for a citizenry massively separated from the engines of representation - the advertising, news, and entertainment industries - is a vital expression of agency. We are not only what we do in a world of images; we are also what we show ourselves to be.'
Michael Renov, 'First Person Films: Some Theses on Self-Inscription', in Rethinking Documentary: New Perspectives, New Practises edited by Thomas Austin and Wilma de Jong, publisher: McGraw Hill / Open University Press