CFP: Rhizomes: Neo-Liberal Governmentality: Technologies of the Self & Governmental Conduct (10/30/04; journal issue)

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Stefan Hall
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Neo-Liberal Governmentality: Technologies of the Self & Governmental Conduct

Proposal for Rhizomes 10 (Spring 2005)

Guest editor: Hai Ren (Department of Popular Culture, Bowling Green
State University. Email:

Deadline: Abstracts by October 30, 2004. Papers based on accepted
abstracts by December 30, 2004.

Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge invites submissions for
its Spring 2005 thematic issue on "Neo-Liberal Governmentality:
Technologies of the Self & Governmental Conduct." The modern state,
following a Foucaultian understanding, is "a mechanism at once of
individualization and of totalization," thus, the "art" of government
deals with the inner link between the conduct of individual existence
and the regulation of the lives of many (Colin Gordon, "The Soul of the
Citizen"). Modern liberal style of government is associated with "reason
of economy" (raison d'économie), which historically engages in constant
competition with "reason of state" (raison d'état) that follows the
"police" style of government. Classic liberalism regards the market as
laissez-faire, that is, autonomous and self-sustaining. Its ideal
political subject is "economic man" (homo œconomicus), exemplified by
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

Neo-liberalism, a twentieth century phenomenon, derives from classic or
modern liberalism; it combines both the forces of the market and the
state to rationalize "the conduct of life" (Lebensführung). The market
allows the development of "life chances" when an individual treats his
or her life conduct as an "enterprise" and accumulates "human capital."
The market, for neo-liberalism, is no longer autonomous; it cannot
function without the state, which functions primarily as the curator of
market logic by promoting a neo-liberal mode of citizenship that focuses
on the "ethic of responsibility," "virtues of life conduct," and
"quasi-nihilistic motivation" that draws on the Protestant ethic
(Gordon, "The Soul of the Citizen"). Thus, the development of
neo-liberalism in the West (North America and Europe) reflects the
changing relationship between the institutions of power, especially the
state and the market (or economy), and the governing of political subjects.

The special issue of Rhizomes invites submissions that draw on
Foucaultian and other appropriate theoretical frameworks to address the
link between the development of technologies of the self for ordinary
and/or marginalized people and changes of governmental conduct, in terms
of Western or/and non-Western historical experiences. How do
governmental discourses that address the lived experiences of ordinary
people, industrial masses, subalterns, ethnic minorities, and other
marginalized populations, construct neo-liberal subjects? How do
governmental discourses of marginalized others connect seemingly
unrelated and/or incommensurable domains of social life such as capital
accumulation and cultural representation?

The special issue welcomes projects that trace neo-liberalism's
genealogy, especially through comparative frameworks that consider the
contemporary conditions of globalization. In what ways does neo-liberal
logic of governance facilitate transnational flows of capital,
population, information, and goods to create a mode of capitalism that
might be called "neo-liberal capitalism"? In terms of the intersection
between political economy and symbolic economy, how do we understand the
issue of communication, which differentiates and connects information
and noise, or sense and non-sense, in neo-liberal capitalism?
Considering the influential works of Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and
Paolo Virno who propose "the multitude" as a new kind of political
subject that replaces "the people," the conventional modern political
subject governed by the nation-state, is "the multitude" a product of
neo-liberal capitalism? How is it related to neo-liberal governmentality?

The special issue is also interested in submissions that examine how the
development of the culture industries shelters existing middle-class
subjects and constructs new ones under the conditions of globalization.
How does a middle-class person accumulate his or her "human capital"
through the development of learning or education as an active lifestyle?
Which human subjects are selected and objectified by governmental
discourses that construct certain types of personal conduct as ideal for
the development of citizenship? In light of the ground-breaking
philosophical work of Alain Badiou who outlines a series of eventful
procedures through which an individual becomes an ethical subject of
truth, in what ways is Badiou's ethical subject incommensurable with or
an alternative to the neo-liberal subject?

As a full text online periodical, Rhizomes emphasizes multimedia to
foster imaginative work that challenges typical critical forms. While
submissions need not necessarily include developed multimedia, authors
are encouraged to consider how their work might be enhanced by elements
specific to the online medium. For additional information and submission
guidelines, please visit the journal's website: ; or email the guest editor: Hai Ren

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Received on Sun Jul 11 2004 - 21:26:19 EDT

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