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Archive for the ‘Neoliberalism’ Category

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

Abstract
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

Abstract
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

Abstract
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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Ron Purser and Edwin Ng, Cutting Through the Corporate Mindfulness Hype, Part One Huffington Post, March 22, 2016

Extract
Michel Foucault made an astute observation: “You know the difference between a real science and a pseudoscience? A real science recognizes and accepts its own history without feeling attacked.” Hopefully, management science scholar-practitioners promoting corporate mindfulness research would contemplate on this statement.

Ron Purser and Edwin Ng, Mindfulness and Self-Care: Why Should I Care? Part Two, Huffington Post, April 6 2016

Extract

Though we are skeptical about celebratory claims, we actually do hope that mindfulness might become a disruptive technology to transform prevailing systems. However, we insist on the importance of collective attentiveness towards the workings of power, which have shaped the dominant individualistic-therapeutic approach to mindfulness and the stresses we face in our private and public lives.

I’d like to clarify the notion of governmentality that guides our work. The blended concept of govern-mentality derives from the work of Michel Foucault. Governmentality does not refer only to the processes of the state. Rather, to think about governmentality is to explore how diverse types of knowledge, expertise, and practices are developed to guide people’s voluntary conduct.

Consider, for instance, the contemporary interest in “wellness“. We learn about the research conducted by medical institutions on exercising or meditation. This knowledge filters through the advice we find in the media. With the help of a trained expert or through our independent efforts, we might cultivate a daily practice of jogging or yoga or mindfulness. Companies and institutions might incorporate a wellness program into their operations.

To put it another way, governmentality plays out formally and informally as the everyday “rules of the game” for responsible conduct. Under the conditions of neoliberal capitalism, the logics of governmentality are imbued with the moral rhetoric of “free choice” and are geared towards self-optimizing, consumerist and entrepreneurial ends.

Ron Purser, Ph.D.. is Professor of Management at San Francisco State University. His article, “Beyond McMindfulness,” in the Huffington Post went viral in 2013.
Edwin Ng, Ph.D., is an author and cultural theorist currently based in Australia. He has written commentaries on the cultural translation of Buddhism and mindfulness for Salon.com and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

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Johanna Oksala, Foucault, Marx and Neoliberal Subjects, Theory, Culture and SocietyFebruary 16, 2015

Daniel Zamora’s edited volume Critiquer Foucault: Les années 1980 et la tentation néolibérale, published in November 2014, has been the subject of a heated debate recently on the philosophical blogosphere. Many Foucault scholars have been puzzled and surprised by the stir it has caused. Verena Erlenbusch (2015) suggests that the controversy has more to do with Zamora’s interview with Jacobin Magazine, provocatively titled “Can We Criticize Foucault?” than with the book itself because many of the arguments presented in it are neither as revolutionary nor as provocative as the interview would make it seem. Stuart Elden (2014) notes that Zamora’s ‘revelations’ are not in fact based on any new material that would have come to light recently and that Foucault’s relationship with neoliberalism has already been subject to critical scrutiny for a number of years by a host of thinkers.

Source: Johanna Oksala on Foucault, Marx and Neoliberal Subjects

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Davies, W. (2012), The Emerging Neocommunitarianism. The Political Quarterly, 83: 767–776.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.2012.02354.x
Full text on academia.edu

Abstract
The financial crisis which began in 2007 has been widely interpreted as a crisis of neoliberalism, akin to the crisis of Keynesianism of the 1970s. But there is little sign of a major paradigmatic alternative, either in theory or in practice. This article looks at how the crises and failures of neoliberalism are occurring at a micro-policy level, where they are interpreted in terms of the fallibility of individual rational choice. Policy responses to this crisis, drawing on more psychologically nuanced accounts of economic behaviour, can be described as ‘neocommunitarian’, inasmuch as they echo the communitarian critique of the liberal self. Where neoliberalism rests on a vision of the individual as atomised and rational, neocommunitarianism treats individuals as governed by social norms and incentives simultaneously. And where neoliberalism subjects individuals to periodic audit organised around targets and outputs, neocommunitarianism conducts a constant audit of behavioural fluctuations in real time.

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