January 16, 2009

The Birth of Biopolitics (4.2): American neo-liberalism I've been summarizing Foucault's lectures, The Birth of Biopolitics. The title is appropriate in that we never quite get a biopolitics fully born; instead we get a kind of coming to be. An appropriate image might be a kind of fractal or a video clip of an animated fractal where we see a pattern emerge: we see little bits and then zone out--or in--and see the pattern again and again. Or maybe we see neoliberalism as a logic of governmentality installing a kind of circuit into society that captures ever more elements, propelling them into a kind of orbit. And we can say that this orbit is established around critical questions of competition, efficiency, and success, a critical gaze or grid that is the interface between government and individual and government and society. Lectures nine and ten (March 14 and March 21) focus on neoliberalism in the US. 1. Neoliberalism in the US emerges in opposition to Keynesianism, social pacts made in WWII (promises to soldiers and citizens regarding what they will get after the war), and programs developed up through the Johnson administration on education, poverty, and segregation (basically, the rise of the social welfare state). 2. Neoliberalism in the US, unlike in France, is more a type of relation between governors and governed than it is the techniques of the governors with regard to the governed. It is also a style and method of thought, analysis, and imagination (which makes me think, gee, Foucault knows he's talking about...
Theory and Event 11.4 The new issue of Theory and Event is out and available through Project Muse: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/toc/tae.11.4.html Contents: Theorizing Shiny Things: Archival Labors Kathy E. Ferguson Just a Tic in the Face: Suicides at the Bosphorus Bridge Umut Şumnu Emin Özgür Özakın Globing the Globe: September 11 and Theatrical Metaphor Glen McGillivray Philosophy Goes to the Movies, or How the West Was Won Bruce Rosenstock Symposium: Legitimation Crisis Undecidable: Legitimation Crisis and the Fork in the Road Thomas L. Dumm Habermas, Deleuze and Capitalism William E. Connolly "With Reason on Our Side..." Wendy Brown Response Jodi Dean Book Reviews: Critique, Democracy, and Power William W. Sokoloff To Place Oneself Within a 'We' Jason Adams Exploring the Edges of Democracy J. Maggio The Somnambulant Practice of Postmodern Architecture Ali Aslam Qui est l'ecran? Paul J. Carnegie Introduction to 11.4 Jodi Dean and Michael J. Shapiro Contemporary academics are the first generation of scholars who encounter the archive not only as a physical place within which we can find and generate a past but also as a feature of any blogging platform. Faced with seemingly limitless storage capacity for videos, photographs, music, and words, those of us in digitizing cultures record and save our digital traces even as we rarely take the time to imagine for whom these traces are saved. We are all archivists now, encountering the joys and challenges of tagging items and experiences that necessarily exceed the terms through which we might recall and share them. It is appropriate, then, that...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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