Archive for the ‘Neoliberalism’ Category

Rodrigo Cordero, Crisis and Critique: On the Fragile Foundations of Social Life. Routledge, 2017

Fragility is a condition that inhabits the foundations of social life. It remains mostly unnoticed until something breaks and dislocates the sense of completion. In such moments of rupture, the social world reveals the stuff of which it is made and how it actually works; it opens itself to question.

Based on this claim, this book reconsiders the place of the notions of crisis and critique as fundamental means to grasp the fragile condition of the social and challenges the normalization and dissolution of these ‘concepts’ in contemporary social theory. It draws on fundamental insights from Hegel, Marx, and Adorno as to recover the importance of the critique of concepts for the critique of society, and engages in a series of studies on the work of Habermas, Koselleck, Arendt, and Foucault as to consider anew the relationship of crisis and critique as immanent to the political and economic forms of modernity.

Moving from crisis to critique and from critique to crisis, the book shows that fragility is a price to be paid for accepting the relational constitution of the social world as a human domain without secure foundations, but also for wishing to break free from all attempts at giving closure to social life as an identity without question. This book will engage students of sociology, political theory and social philosophy alike.

Table of Contents


Part I. Sociology of crisis/Critique of sociology

1. The critique of crisis

2. The crisis of critique

Part II. Models of crisis/Forms of critique

3. Diremptions of social life: Bringing capitalist crisis and social critique back together —Jürgen Habermas

4. The non-closure of human history: Misfortunes of social critique and the political foundations of concepts —Reinhart Koselleck

Part III. Fragile foundations/Political struggles

5. The fragile world in-between: Totalitarian destruction and the modesty of critical thought —Hannah Arendt

6. Making things more fragile: The persistence of crisis and the neoliberal disorder of things —Michel Foucault


Decoding social hieroglyphics: Notes on the philosophical actuality of sociology
—Theodor Adorno

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Formosinho, M., Jesus, P., Reis, C.
Emancipatory and critical language education: a plea for translingual possible selves and worlds
(2016) Critical Studies in Education, pp. 1-19. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1237983

Language is the main resource for meaningful action, including the very formation of selves and psychosocial identities, shaped by practical norms, beliefs, and values. Thus, language education constitutes one of the most powerful means for both social reproduction and social production and ideological maintenance and utopian innovation. In this paper, we attempt to emphasise the invaluable psychosocial, political, economic, and cultural function of language education in order to propose a critical view of the current transition from the monolingual to a multilingual paradigm. We maintain that multilingual approaches tend to serve the neoliberal framework and reproduce its systemic inequalities. Therefore, we argue in favour of emancipatory multilingual practices that could embody a translingual pedagogy capable of promoting the development of capabilities, the recognition of otherness, and the cultivation of diversity. Rooted in critical theory, namely in Foucault’s notion of subjectification and Freire’s view of conscientisation, an emancipatory translingual pedagogy would enable and empower every learner to synthesise a contextually creative field of new semantic and pragmatic relationships. Critical language education would enhance the ethos of biophilia that fosters what we term the poetics of communality and selfhood, that is to say, the proactive commitment to expanding symbolic and existential novelty. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Capabilities approach; emancipation; Foucault; Freire; globalisation; language education; Multilingualism; philosophy of education; Translingualism; utopia

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Lambert, K., Wright, P., Currie, J., Pascoe, R.
Embodiment and becoming in secondary drama classrooms: the effects of neoliberal education cultures on performances of self and of drama texts
(2016) Critical Studies in Education, pp. 1-19. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1238402

This article explores the effects of neoliberalism and performative educational cultures on secondary school drama classrooms. We consider the ways Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis and Butler’s concept of gender performance enable us to chart the embodied, relational, spatial and affective energies that inhabit the often neoliberal and heterosexually striated space of the drama classroom. These post-humanist analyses are useful methodological tools for mapping the complexities of student becomings in the space context of the secondary school. We also show how Foucault’s governmentality and Ball’s theory of competitive performativity are particularly salient in the context of immanent capitalism that shapes the desires of its subjects. These frameworks, when combined, can be useful in critiquing neoliberal educational assemblages and in indicating emerging deterritorializations and lines of flight in teachers and students. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Author Keywords
Becoming; Butler; Deleuze and Guattari; embodiment; Foucault; neoliberalism; performativity; secondary drama

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Heffernan, A.
The Emperor’s perfect map: leadership by numbers
(2016) Australian Educational Researcher, 43 (3), pp. 377-391.

DOI: 10.1007/s13384-016-0206-7

This paper establishes that system-generated data profiles are influencing the work of principals in three Queensland state schools. Drawing upon Foucault’s notions of governance, as well as research emphasising performative cultures and the importance placed upon numbers and data in education, this paper uses the tale of the Emperor’s map as a metaphor to explore the way principals’ work is being influenced by specific sets of data compiled by the department. These data profiles are representative of external accountabilities and high stakes testing regimes, as seen in systems that have adopted neoliberal policies which attempt to quantify the work being undertaken in schools. The paper demonstrates that principals are being constructed in part by discourses from a system that emphasises these system-generated performance data as a driver for school improvement. © 2016, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc.

Author Keywords
Data; Performativity; School improvement; School principals

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Sonu, D., Benson, J.
The quasi-human child: How normative conceptions of childhood enabled neoliberal school reform in the United States
(2016) Curriculum Inquiry, 46 (3), pp. 230-247.

DOI: 10.1080/03626784.2016.1168259

This paper argues that normative conceptions of the child, as a natural quasi-human being in need of guidance, enable current school reforms in the United States to directly link the child to neoliberal aims and objectives. In using Foucault’s concept of governmentality and disciplinary power, we first present how the child is constructed as a subject of the adult world, then trace how such understandings invite school policies and practices that worked on the child, rather than with the child. In order to understand how the child comes to be known and recognized as a learner, both at the intersections of normative conceptions of childhood and material expectations of the student, we use Biesta’s three domains of education: socialization, qualification, and subjectification as an organizing framework and draw primarily from Common Core Learning Standards and related policy reports with the aim of reorienting educational work away from economic and political universals and toward a subjective response to the child as a human being with concerns, rights, and as a subject worthy of recognition. © 2016 the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Author Keywords
common core; Foucault; neoliberalism; subjectification; The child

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lorey_state_of_insecurity Eric Wilson, Precarious Politics, The Blackstone Review, December 2016

Review of State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious. by Isabell Lorey, Verso, 2015

Using Foucault’s notion of self-governance, Lorey helps to demonstrate how the hustler internalizes the imperative to hustle. Self-governance implies the ways in which a population is made, through a variety of state- and work-disciplinary mechanisms, and comes to make, through self-discipline, itself into a subject. Neoliberal self-governance takes place under conditions where the burden of life has been shifted from the state to individuals who are made to appear solely responsible for their lives, their successes or failures, their employment or imprisonment. This transition produces precarious subjects who are increasingly called upon to live lives of constant precarious labor, to manage their precarity at all times, to constantly hustle, at work and at home. In this way, precarity becomes a way of life, a condition that not only structures employment, but also structures the governing of the self. The uncertainty produced by neoliberalism looms within the texture of daily life, informing not only conscious decisions about how to allocate resources for an uncertain future but also unconscious thoughts and behaviors. It is the production of radically isolated individuals who are driven by one imperative: to pursue security in a world of financial, political, environmental, and humanitarian crises.

The individual hustler, hustling, working multiple jobs, learning to love and identify with exploitative conditions, all appear variously in this moment of neoliberalism.

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Foster, R.
The therapeutic spirit of neoliberalism
(2016) Political Theory, 44 (1), pp. 82-105.

DOI: 10.1177/0090591715594660

My essay argues that neoliberal forms of government emerged through the shifting political trajectory of the therapeutic ethos in the postwar period in Anglo-American societies. In the postwar era, the therapeutic ethos attracted the attention of conservative cultural critics who described it as a destructive force on communal obligation. Initially, the therapeutic ethos appeared to align naturally with New Left ideas of democratization in the workplace and private sphere. However, I argue that the New Right was subsequently able to sever the therapeutic ethos from its alignment with social democratization by imbuing it with an alternative set of meanings centered on the ideas of market freedom and the entrepreneur. The result was the construction of the new, neoliberal forms of power, which, I argue, take the form of the management of subjectivity. Finally, I outline the two major social pathologies of the neoliberal era, namely, the consequences of its contractualized notion of citizenship and the explosion of social inequality, both of which are traceable to the influence of therapeutic notions of the self. © 2015 SAGE Publications.

Author Keywords
Citizenship; Democracy; Foucault; Neoliberalism; New left; Therapeutic ethos

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