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The Making of Homo Oeconomicus, or, Reading the Cultural Mechanics of Neoliberalism in Contemporary Spain

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
12:00 AM
RLL Commons, 4th Floor Modern Languages Building

In Spain today, as elsewhere, neoliberal policies demand the autonomous self-care of the population through private investments—and their proponents often make their claims an intensely personal, if not moral, matter. Revisiting Foucault’s lectures on the biopolitics of neoliberalism, this talk explores rhetoric that attempts to pin together social judgments about welfare, unemployment, and the model behaviors of an ideal economic subject (homo oeconomicus) crafted around neoliberal policy-aims. The mechanics of these arguments that uphold empowering narratives on enterprise, equal opportunity, and economic self-sufficiency for life are reproduced in social relation, which can be observed in photography and narrative accounts on the everyday ways in which subjects develop practices and knowledges for survival amid austerity.