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The elusive subjects of neoliberalism: beyond the analytics of governmentality

Barnett, Clive, Clarke, Nick, Cloke, Paul and Malpass, Alice (2008) The elusive subjects of neoliberalism: beyond the analytics of governmentality [in special issue: Cultural Studies and Anti-Consumerism: a Critical Encounter] Cultural Studies, 22, (5), pp. 624-653. (doi:10.1080/09502380802245902).

Record type: Article


This paper assesses the degree to which conceptualizations of neo-liberal governance and advanced liberal governmentality can throw light on contemporary transformations in the practices and politics of consumption. It detours through theories of governmentality, stories about consumption and shopping, and different variations on what we can learn from Foucault. We explore the degree to which aspects of Foucault's discussions of government and ethics can be put to work methodologically without necessarily buying into fully systematized theories of governmentality that have been built around them. The idea that organizations and networks might share rationalities through which they problematize and seek to intervene in specified areas of social life seems worth pursuing. So too does the notion of various modes of ethical problematization through which people come to take their own activities as requiring moral reflection. In neither case, however, can the analytics of governmentality provide a coherent theoretical account of how political processes of rule and administration work, or indeed of how they connect up with cultural processes of self-formation and subjectivity.

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Published date: 15 September 2008
Keywords: governmentality, consumption, neo-liberalism, subjectivity, ethical, problematization
Organisations: Geography


Local EPrints ID: 64189
ISSN: 0950-2386
PURE UUID: 028dd8dc-d6e0-4ed3-87c2-7895fc955587

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Date deposited: 05 Dec 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:14

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Author: Clive Barnett
Author: Nick Clarke
Author: Paul Cloke
Author: Alice Malpass

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