NEOLIBERALISM AS GOVERMENTALITY: TOWARDS A MATERIALST CONCEPTUALIZATION

Miguel García Duch
  miguel.garcia.duch@ucm.es
  

Abstract

This article constitutes a contribution to the debate around the theoretical status of neoliberalism, an academic trending catchphrase. Beyond the usual Marxian and neo-Gramscian perspectives which relates neoliberalism to a finance-led accumulation and its privileged subject, the financial fraction of capital, this article proposes a materialist perspective focusing on complex structuration, strategy, discourse and relational overdetermination between agency and structure. Within this framework, the Foucauldian notion of governmentality offers a powerful analytical skeleton to understand neoliberalism beyond humanist idealizations. However, this topic has been scarcely covered, especially in explicit relation to a general Marxist framework.

Thus, this work develops a new approach to the capitalist social field structuration by bridging the well-known notions of mode of regulation and regime of accumulation with two Foucauldian analytical tools: regime of truth and governmentality. These four power nodes immanent of capitalist reproduction are subsequently interrelated through the development of the classical notion of historical (dialectical) structure –originally proposed by Cox- into a (strategical) grid of intelligibility.

As a consequence, neoliberalism is defined as a historical set of dominant strategic-discursive practices exercised by decentered, socially constituted subjects. These social, collective and individual agencies operate through a specific materialization of the social capitalist field: the post-Fordist regime of accumulation, the global market-based mode of regulation and its associated entrepreneurial regime of truth.