FOUCAULT AND CAPITALIST RATIONALITY: A RECONSTRUCTION

Market Forces 1 (4):23-33 (2006)
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Abstract

The relation between the regimes of the accumulation of men and the accumulation of capital is problematised in the works of Michel Foucault. The paper challenges the prevailing wisdom that the relation between these regimes is contingent. The fundamental question of the conditions of the possibility of relation between the two regimes is raised. It is argued that both regimes are primordially related. Focusing on the Foucauldian analysis of the regime of the accumulation of men and its constituent elements an effort is made to thematize the primordial relation between the two regimes. It is shown that freedom is the condition of the possibility of a primordial relation between the two regimes. It is explained why freedom plays such a fundamental role in making possible and sustaining a capitalist order. The dual role of freedom as a principle of diversity and a principle of management is stressed. It is argued that capitalism as an order is conditioned upon the production and reproduction of individuals and populations that are simultaneously useful and free. It is also the condition of such an order that docility is produced without hampering utility. Freedom makes possible the enhancement of utility without making it unmanageable.

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Ali Rizvi
La Trobe University

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