Archive for the ‘Journal articles’ Category

Lawrence D. Berg, Edward H. Huijbens, Henrik Gutzon Larsen, Producing Anxiety in the Neoliberal University
Forthcoming in The Canadian Geographer/le Géographe Canadien
Special issue on
Critical Reflections on Cultivating an Ethic of Wellness in Geography
Guest edited by Linda Peake, Kate Parizeau, and Beverley Mullings

Draft on Academia.edu

This paper presents a theoretical analysis of the neoliberal production of anxiety in academic faculty members in universities in Northern Europe. The paper focuses on neoliberalization as it is instantiated through audit and ranking systems designed to produce academia as a space of economic efficiency and intensifying competition. We suggest that powerful forms of competition and ranking of academic performance have been developed in Northern Europe. These systems are differentiated and differentiating, and they serve to both index and facilitate the neoliberalization of the academy. Moreover, these audit and ranking systems produce an ongoing sense of anxiety among academic workers. We argue that neoliberalism in the academy is part of a wider system of anxiety production arising as part of the so-called ‘soft governance’ of everything, including life itself, in contemporary late liberalism.

Neoliberalism, Higher Education, Human Capital, Academic Audit Systems, Anxiety and Mental Health

Key Messages:
This article investigates processes of neoliberalization of the academy. It argues that neoliberalism entails shifts from exchange to competition, from equality to inequality, and turns academics into human capital. It suggests that auditing systems are key mechanisms of neoliberalization and produce unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress in the academy

Read Full Post »

Lars Thorup Larsen & Deborah Stone (2015): “Governing Health Care through Free Choice: Neoliberal Reforms in Denmark and the United States”, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 40(5): 941-70.

doi: 10.1215/03616878-3161162

We compare free choice reforms in Denmark and the United States to understand what ideas and political forces could generate such similar policy reforms in radically different political contexts. We analyze the two cases using our own interpretation of neoliberalism as having “two faces.” The first face seeks to expand private markets and shrink the public sector; the second face seeks to strengthen the public sector’s capacity to govern through incentives and competition. First, we show why these two most-different cases offer a useful comparison to understand similar policy tools. Second, we develop our theoretical framework of the two faces of neoliberalism. Third, we examine Denmark’s introduction of a free choice of hospitals in 2002, a policy that for the first time allowed some patients to receive care either in a public hospital outside their local area or in a private hospital. Fourth, we examine the introduction of free choice among private managed care plans into the US Medicare program in 1997. We show how policy makers in both countries used neoliberal reform as a mechanism to make their public health care sectors governable. Fifth, on the basis of our analysis, we draw five lessons about neoliberal policy reforms.

Read Full Post »

Heaney, Conor, ‘What is the University today?’, Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 13 (2), 2015, 287-314

Full PDF here and here

What is the University today? In this paper, a Foucault and Deleuzo-Guattarian inspired approach is taken. I argue that the University is, today, a site of ‘neoliberal governmentality’, which governs students and academics as sites of human capital. That is, students and academics are governed to self-govern themselves as sites of human capital. This transformation in how students and academics are governed will be identified as a recent trend through the examination of relevant UK-government reports on higher education. Furthermore, it will be identified as a trend that ‘decodes’ knowledge – in the specific sense developed by Deleuze and Guattari – which renders academic knowledge (the knowledge the student ‘consumes’ and the knowledge the academic ‘produces’) meaningless.

Foucault, University, Deleuze and Guattari, neoliberal governmentality, knowledge

Read Full Post »

Lars Thorup Larsen (2015): “The problematization of fertility treatment: biopolitics and IVF policy in Denmark”, Distinktion 16(3): 318-36.

DOI: 10.1080/1600910X.2015.1089520

With the demographic challenges facing many European states, one would perhaps expect the state to invoke a biopolitical imperative to ‘faire vivre’, as Foucault termed it, and attempt to regulate birth rates. This expectation is too simple, however, as this article shows both theoretically and empirically. In order better to understand the possible counterweights to biopolitical concerns about the birth rate, the conceptual distinction between biopolitics and governmentality is useful. Scholarly debates about biopolitics and governmentality have been surprisingly silent on what constitutes the internal relationship between the two or how they may come into conflict. The article elaborates this conceptual distinction and demonstrates its relevance in a genealogy of how fertility treatment has been problematized in Danish assisted reproduction policy. Since access to IVF treatment does not appear to follow a biopolitical imperative to ‘faire vivre’, it is interesting to explore and compare how IVF treatment – and its doctors, patients, and children – has been problematized instead. In a variety of different ways, the biopolitical concern about the low birth rate has been overshadowed by concerns about how to govern. Either the new treatment has been problematized as an unnecessary cover for private or special interests, for instance doctors’ illegitimate attempts to self-govern, or problematization has centered on prospective parents characterized as demanding or selfish. The interface between biopolitics and fertility treatment is thus only understandable with a view to problems of governing and the resulting tension between governmentality and the biopolitical imperative to ‘faire vivre’.

Read Full Post »

Dirk Postma, Critical agency in education: a Foucauldian perspective, Journal of Education, No. 61, 2015, 31-52

Full text

While the neoliberal order is associated with the economy, government and globalisation, as a form of governmentality it effects a particular subjectivity. The subject is the terrain where the contest of control plays out. The subject is drawn into the seductive power of performativity which dictates its agency, desires and satisfactions and from which escape is difficult to imagine. Neoliberalism is particularly interested in an education which provides it with the much needed powers of production and consumption. This dependency of the neoliberal order on a particular kind of agential subjectivity is also its weakness because of the indeterminacy of the self. Within this openness of the human subject lies the possibility to be different and to escape any form of subjectification.

Foucault’s account of the critical agent portrays a form of difference that opposes and transcends neoliberal ordering. Foucault finds the principle of practices of freedom in the Greco-Roman ethics of the care for the self. It is an ethics where the subject gains control of itself through the ascetic and reflective attention in relation to available ethical codes and with the guidance of a ‘master’. Such as strong sense of the self is the basis for personal and social transformation against neoliberal colonisation. The development of critical agency in education is subsequently investigated in the light of Foucault’s notions of agency and freedom. The contest of the subject is of particular importance to education interested in the development of critical agency. The critical agent is not only one who could identify and analyse regimes of power, but also one who could imagine different modes of being, and who could practice freedom in the enactment of an alternative mode of being. The educational implications are explored in relation to the role of the teacher and pedagogical processes.

Read Full Post »

Bahar Aykan and Sanem Güvenç-Salgırlı (2015). Responsibilizing individuals, regulating health: debating public spots, risk, and neoliberal governmentality in contemporary Turkey. New Perspectives on Turkey, 53, pp 71-92.


Currently, a mass media campaign is underway in Turkey using a new
communication means called the “ public spot” (kamu spotu ). This article
concentrates on the public spots produced by Turkey’ s Ministry of Health, and
more specifically on those that advocate quitting smoking and preventing
obesity. Drawing on interviews with Ministry of Health personnel and
analyzing the content of these spots, we suggest that they operate as risk
caveats. They caution individuals against smoking and obesity’s potential harms
and guide her/him towards self-health governance by encouraging the
maintenance of a particular lifestyle that embraces a balanced diet, regular
activity, and no smoking. As such, we read these spots as a technique of
neoliberal governmentality. This technique works primarily by responsibilizing
individuals as health entrepreneurs investing in risk free lifestyles; that is, by
conceptualizing health as a matter of self-conduct where personal responsibilities
are emphasized.

Read Full Post »

Introna, L.D.
Algorithms, Governance, and Governmentality: On Governing Academic Writing
(2016) Science Technology and Human Values, 41 (1), pp. 17-49.

DOI: 10.1177/0162243915587360

Algorithms, or rather algorithmic actions, are seen as problematic because they are inscrutable, automatic, and subsumed in the flow of daily practices. Yet, they are also seen to be playing an important role in organizing opportunities, enacting certain categories, and doing what David Lyon calls “social sorting.” Thus, there is a general concern that this increasingly prevalent mode of ordering and organizing should be governed more explicitly. Some have argued for more transparency and openness, others have argued for more democratic or value-centered design of such actors.

In this article, we argue that governing practices—of, and through algorithmic actors—are best understood in terms of what Foucault calls governmentality. Governmentality allows us to consider the performative nature of these governing practices. They allow us to show how practice becomes problematized, how calculative practices are enacted as technologies of governance, how such calculative practices produce domains of knowledge and expertise, and finally, how such domains of knowledge become internalized in order to enact self-governing subjects. In other words, it allows us to show the mutually constitutive nature of problems, domains of knowledge, and subjectivities enacted through governing practices. In order to demonstrate this, we present attempts to govern academic writing with a specific focus on the algorithmic action of Turnitin. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Author Keywords
academic disciplines and traditions; governance; other; politics; power

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,781 other followers

%d bloggers like this: