•  425
    This article develops a diagnostic lens to make sense of the still baffling development of a ‘humanitarian marketplace’. Ambivalently hybrid initiatives such as volunteer tourism, corporate social responsibility or even fair trade do not strictly obey a distributive logic of market exchange, social reciprocity or philanthropic giving. They engender a type of ‘economy’ that must be apprehended in its own terms. The article argues that the large-scale collaborative effects of such a dispersed mark…Read more
  •  282
    The Foucauldian conception of power as ‘productive’ has left us so far with a residual conception of freedom. The article examines a number of historical cases in which ‘relationships of freedom’ have potentially come into existence within Western culture, from ‘revolution’ and ‘political truth-telling’ to ‘cynicism’ and ‘civility’. But the argument is not just about demonstrating that there have in fact been many historical inversions of ‘the conduct of conduct’. It is about theorizing how free…Read more
  •  76
    It has been commonplace to equate Foucault’s 1979 series of lectures at the Collège de France with the claim that for neoliberalism, unlike for classical liberalism, the market needs to be artificially constructed. The article expands this claim to its full expression, taking it beyond what otherwise would be a simple divulgation of a basic neoliberal tenet. It zeroes in on Foucault’s own insight: that neoliberal constructivism is not directed at the market as such, but, in principle, at society…Read more
  •  61
    Critical theory has long resisted the notion that an “invisible hand” can operate within the real social dynamics of a free market. But despite the most radical desires of the socially critical imagination, the optimization of that “spontaneous order” or depersonalized way of ordering things known as “the economy” has become the dominant playing field and decisive electoral issue of modern politics. Within this broad contemporary context, Michel Foucault made a strange theoretical intervention t…Read more
  •  39
    The idea that anyone, with the right critical knowledge and a certain amount of spare time and resources, could become a globally responsible citizen has been skeptically questioned at least since the time of Rousseau. But, during the last two decades, the specific concern that has troubled critical qualitative researchers has been the possible complicity of the active citizen with a neoliberal regime of governmentality, a regime that often uses the injunction to volunteer as a political tactic …Read more
  •  21
    Thanks to Michel Foucault, one might say it has become possible to conceive that the political relevance of humanity in modern thought does not have to do with its “philosophical essence” but rather with its “nonessence.” Yet this very idea surfaced earlier in Western thought, at the time of the revolutionary turn towards a politicized humanitarianism, and helped to shape some crucial political strategies making up modern liberal democracy. Its potential eluded even Foucault. I contend that trac…Read more