Foucault's neoliberal ideology

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Abstract

Foucault's analysis of neoliberalism in The Birth of Biopolitics has had a considerable influence on the way that it is currently regarded. Nevertheless, his analysis is beset by numerous metatheoretical and methodological problems, which cause him to badly frame the phenomenon empirically. One expression of these problems is Foucault's willingness to accept at face value the way that neoliberalism's leading theorists portray it. Yet, over the past 40 years, what neoliberal theorists have said about neoliberalism has sharply deviated from its actual practices, which suggests that neoliberalism is an ideology, but because Foucault rejects the concept of ideology, his framework cannot entertain this possibility. Those who critique neoliberalism on the basis of his analysis, even when in opposition to Foucault's own inclinations, generally start from his uncritical assumptions and therefore often undercut the very purposes for which they put him to use. One such example is Wendy Brown, whose own influential Undoing the Demos demonstrates this inclination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-514
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Philosophy
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

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