The secret life of neoliberal subjectivity

Mitchell Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Neoliberalism has been called a rascal concept - promiscuously pervasive, yet inconsistently defined, empirically imprecise and frequently contested. Some are more used to the term neo-conservative to describe a certain recent form of the New Right, at least since the administration of President George W. Bush. Foucault's analysis alerts people to the plurality of forms of neoliberalism, their emergence within but movement across particular national borders and temporal contexts. Foucault demonstrates the worth of an intellectual-historical and even biographical study of the variants of neoliberalism and their key figures, which he himself recognizes as something of a departure from his usual methods. The problem of neoliberal subjectivity does not appear until halfway through the ninth lecture of The Birth of Biopolitics, which is also the first lecture concerning American neoliberalism. Foucault contrasts the treatment of labor in Marx and the human capital theorists.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking neoliberalism
Subtitle of host publicationresisting the disciplinary regime
EditorsSanford F. Schram, Marianna Pavlovskaya
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315186238
ISBN (Print)9781138735965, 9781138735958
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Foucault


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