Tim Christiaens, Financial Neoliberalism and Exclusion with and beyond Foucault, Theory, Culture & Society, December 22, 2018
In the beginning of the 1970s Michel Foucault dismissed the terminology of ‘exclusion’ for his projected analytics of modern power. This rejection has had major repercussions on the theory of neoliberal subject-formation. Many researchers disproportionately stress how neoliberal dispositifs produce entrepreneurial subjects, albeit in different ways, while minimizing how these dispositifs sometimes emphatically refuse to produce neoliberal subjects. Relying on Saskia Sassen’s work on financialization, I argue that neoliberal dispositifs not only apply entrepreneurial norms, but also suspend their application for groups that threaten to harm the population’s profitability. Neoliberal dispositifs not only produce entrepreneurial subjects but also surplus populations that are expelled from the overall population to maintain its productivity. Here, the concept of ‘exclusion’ is appropriate if understood in Agamben’s sense of an inclusive exclusion. The surplus population is part of neoliberal dispositifs, but only as the element to be abandoned.
Keywords exclusion, finance, Foucault, neoliberal subjectivity, neoliberalism, Sassen