David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Economics and Philosophy 22 (3):429-439 (2006)
The title of this book is rather misleading. “Birth of neoliberal governmentality,” or something like that, would have been more faithful to its contents. In Foucault's vocabulary, “biopolitics” is the “rationalisation” of “governmentality” : it's the theory, in other words, as opposed to the art of managing people. The mismatch between title and content is easily explained: the general theme of the courses at the Collège de France had to be announced at the beginning of each academic year. It is part of the mandate of every professor at the Collège, however, that his lectures should follow closely his current research. As a consequence it wasn't unusual for Foucault to take new directions while he was lecturing. In 1979, for the first and only time in his career, he took a diversion into contemporary political philosophy. His principal object of investigation became “neoliberal” political economy. More precisely, he got increasingly interested in those strands of contemporary liberalism that use economic science both as a principle of limitation and of inspiration for the management of people
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