Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Call for papers Panel on Ethnographies of Neoliberal Governance

Part of the 7th International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis. The conference for 2012 is titled ‘Understanding the Drama of Democracy. Policy Work, Power and Transformation’. The International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis has travelled through Europe. After visiting Birmingham, Amsterdam, Essex, Kassel, Grenoble and Cardiff, interpretivists of various kinds will gather in Tilburg, the Netherlands in July 2012.

Panel Chairs
◦Dr. Michelle Brady
Assistant Professor @ University Of Victoria
◦Dr. Tara Ney
Assistant Professor @ University Of Victoria

July 5, 2012 – July 7, 2012

This panel is seeking papers that focus on the processes and practices through which neoliberalization occurs. We invite papers that examine specific cases through the use of ethnographic or quasi-ethnographic methodologies (interviews and observations). Collectively, the panel will exemplify the geographic and historic diversity of neoliberal governmentalities. A fundamental premise of this panel is that neoliberal forms of governance seek to organize social and political life according to the structure of competition, to encourage enterprising subjectivities, and to move forms of governance downwards to policy practices, individuals, and communities. As Foucault perceptively noted in 1979, neoliberalism assumes that competition can only appear if it is produced through active governance by the state (Foucault, 2008). Thus neoliberal practices emphasize governance of the market and social life through what Dorow (2007) calls “the interplay of coercive regulation and voluntary participation”. As Larner (2011) argues, many initial studies of neoliberal thinking incorrectly assumed that these ideas would be short-lived. However, such scepticism and dismissal was quickly replaced by equally problematic “monolithic narratives” of a uniform shift from the collectivist welfare state to individualistic neoliberal governance. Recently, a small number of interpretivist policy analysts from diverse disciplines have attempted to be more attentive to specific local cases thereby drawing attention to the geographical and historic specificity of neoliberal policy practices. These are what Larner (2007) calls ethnographies of “actually existing neoliberalism”. We are seeking papers that highlight the diversity of contemporary neoliberal practices of governance.

Dr. Michelle Brady
Dr. Tara Ney:

Paper proposal deadline 31 January 2012. Details for how to submit a proposal can be found on the panel webpage

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