Using empirical research, this book critically analyses the dynamics, culture and forms of subjectivity of neo-liberalism. It draws upon existing historical, sociological and cultural studies to excavate the geneaology of the capitalist subject with specific emphasis on the neo-liberal govern-mental context of the last four decades. Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality, which he developed in his Collège de France lectures of 1978 and 1979, is employed as an hermeneutic key to historically situate and critically analyse the regimes of subject-formation characteristic of neo-liberal capitalism. The current crisis in capitalism is surveyed, along with earlier forms of capitalism, and the transition in power from discipline to control is explored. The study concludes by tracing the changing face of Homo Economicus in relation to resistance levelled against neo-liberal capitalism and the resultant metamorphises it has undergone. Drawing upon political philosophy and political economy, Benda Hofmeyr presents a comprehensive Foucaultian analysis and historical contextualisation of the rise of neo-liberal governmentality.
Benda Hofmeyr is currently affiliated to the department of philosophy, University of Pretoria, South Africa. She lived and worked in the Netherlands while completing her doctoral studies and postdoctoral research. She still maintains strong collaborative ties with the Radboud University Nijmegen where she obtained her doctoral degree in philosophy on the work of Foucault and Levinas. Her research interests fall within the broad ambit of contemporary continental philosophy (especially thinkers following in the wake of Heidegger with emphasis on post-structuralism and phenomenology) with an enduring fascination for the inextricable entanglement of the ethical and the political. At present, she is reflecting on the entanglement of European and non-Western, especially post-colonial African philosophy and the possibility of a dialogue across these divergent yet fundamentally intertwined traditions of thought.
Chapter 1: Living to Work in the Age of Control
Chapter 2: Foucault’s Analyses of Neoliberal Governmentality: Past Investigations and Present
Chapter 3: Knowledge Work in the Age of Control
Chapter 4: The Relation Between Work and Thumos: A Critical Interrogation of What Motivates the Knowledge Work Compulsion
Chapter 5: The Hinge Connecting Work Compulsion and Neoliberal Governmentality
Chapter 6: The Feasibility of Resistance in the Workplace. A Foucauldian Investigation
This is an intriguing and deeply conceptualized book which reflects critical competence in the theoretical traditions it invokes and a command of the nuanced intellectual and scholarly field it hopes to engage.