Foucault News

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

Daniele Lorenzini (2018), Governmentality, subjectivity, and the neoliberal form of life, Journal for Cultural Research

DOI: 10.1080/14797585.2018.1461357

In this paper, I argue that the appropriate answer to the question of the form contemporary neoliberalism gives our lives rests on Michel Foucault’s definition of neoliberalism as a particular art of governing human beings. I claim that Foucault’s definition consists in three components: neoliberalism as a set of technologies structuring the ‘milieu’ of individuals in order to obtain specific effects from their behavior; neoliberalism as a governmental rationality transforming individual freedom into the very instrument through which individuals are directed; and neoliberalism as a set of political strategies that constitute a specific, and eminently governable, form of subjectivity. I conclude by emphasising the importance that Foucault’s work on neoliberalism as well as the ancient ‘ethics of the care of the self’ still holds for us today.

Keywords: Critique, Foucault, governmentality, neoliberalism, subjectivity

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