Foucault News

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

Ettlinger, N., Hartmann, C.D.
Post/neo/liberalism in relational perspective
(2015) Political Geography, 48, pp. 37-48.

DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.05.009

Abstract
Within a decade of the new millennium new left governments in many countries across Latin America developed new constitutions that bespeak a new, postneoliberal era, supplanting neoliberal hegemony. Debates about postneoliberalism-as-governance or as a discourse lack resolution. Drawing from Foucault’s lecture series The Birth of Biopolitics, which engages the relation between neoliberalism and liberalism, as well as from his general analytic approach, we cast postneoliberalism, neoliberalism, and liberalism in relational terms relative to principles not time periods, and offer precision on how different discourses co-exist and become mutually entangled and politicized in the context of neoliberal practices. We reference points in our argument with empirical research in various Latin American contexts, and in the penultimate section we thread the argument through current dynamics in one context, Nicaragua. Although overall we concur with the critical literature about the neoliberal character of pink-tide governments in practice, in the final section we depart from the prevailing approach that focuses on formal government as the bellwether of change and conclude by drawing attention to prospects for postneoliberal practices in the microspaces of daily life. Drawing from Foucault’s late scholarship on ethics and mindful of the longstanding role of informality in Latin American political economy, we clarify how postneoliberal values can materialize in everyday life while formal governmental actions and policies persist as neoliberal amid liberal, postneoliberal, as well as socialist discourses. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Author Keywords

Feminism; Foucault; Informal; Latin America; Liberalism; Neoliberalism; Nicaragua; Postneoliberalism

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