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  • Author or Editor: Christopher Byrne x
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This article aims to bring some definitional clarity to the study of neoliberalism by investigating the three most common conceptualisations of the project as an ideology, mode of regulation, and market-oriented governmentality. It is argued that the heretofore somewhat marginalised governmentality perspective offers the most untapped potential for new analytical insights due to its ability to avoid three problems apparent in the literature on neoliberalism: the conflation of the governmental and hegemonic politics of neoliberalism; the prevalence of overly simplistic periodisations of neoliberalism; and, the failure to grasp the importance of processes of subjectification to the practical functioning of neoliberalism.

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Premised on the assumption that depoliticisation is a crucial aspect of neo-liberal governmentality, this paper attempts to synergise these two, previously disparate, concepts. Borrowing from Foucault’s theorisation of governmentality and drawing from inclusive definitions of politics/ the political, this paper argues for a reformulation of our understanding of depoliticisation and politicisation. The paper contends that depoliticisation is best understood as a technique of governing which works to legitimise neo-liberalism as the dominant political rationality. As such, we argue that depoliticisation acts as a tool for masking the ‘rolling forward’ of the state and the proliferation of new forms of neo-liberal governmentality.

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Premised on the assumption that depoliticisation is a crucial aspect of neo-liberal governmentality, this paper attempts to synergise these two, previously disparate, concepts. Borrowing from Foucault’s theorisation of governmentality and drawing from inclusive definitions of politics/the political, this paper argues for a reformulation of our understanding of depoliticisation and politicisation. The paper contends that depoliticisation is best understood as a technique of governing which works to legitimise neo-liberalism as the dominant political rationality. As such, the chapter argues that depoliticisation acts as a tool for masking the ‘rolling forward’ of the state and the proliferation of new forms of neo-liberal governmentality.

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