Title:
The Neoliberal Self
Author:
Jim McGuigan: Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, UK
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146223
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Full article (pdf)
Year:
2014
Volume:
6
Theme:
Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique Edited by Johan Fornäs

Pages:
223-240
No. of pages:
18
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-02-20


This article proposes an ideal type of the neoliberal self as the preferred form of life in the economic, political and cultural circumstances of present-day developed and developing capitalism. The neoliberal self combines the idealised subject(s) of classical and neoclassical economics – featuring entrepreneurship and consumer sovereignty – with the contemporary discourse of ’the taxpayer’, who is sceptical of redistributive justice, and a ’cool’ posture that derives symbolically – and ironically – from cultures of disaffection and, indeed, opposition. In effect, the transition from organised capitalism to neoliberal hegemony over the recent period has brought about a corresponding transformation in subjectivity. As an idea type, the neoliberal self cannot be found concretely in a ’pure’ form, not even represented by leading celebrity figures. The emergent characteristics of the ideal type, though not set out formally here, accentuate various aspects of personal conduct and mundane existence for illustrative and analytical purposes. Leading celebrities, most notably high-tech entrepreneurs, for instance, operate in the popular imagination as models of achievement for the aspiring young. They are seldom emulated in real life, however, even unrealistically so. Still, their famed lifestyles and heavily publicised opinions provide guidelines to appropriate conduct in a ruthlessly competitive and unequal world.

Keywords: Cool culture; entrepreneurship; ideal (social) type; neoliberalism; or-ganised capitalism; preferred self; sovereign consumption

Volume 6, Theme:: Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique Edited by Johan Fornäs

, Article 13, 2014

Author:
Jim McGuigan
Title:
The Neoliberal Self:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146223
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
  • Deborah Philips (2016). “Cooking Doesn't Get Much Tougher than This”: MasterChef and Competitive Cooking. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 44(3): 169. DOI: 10.1080/01956051.2015.1119099
  • David Forbes (2016). Modes of Mindfulness: Prophetic Critique and Integral Emergence. Mindfulness, 7(6): 1256. DOI: 10.1007/s12671-016-0552-6
  • Jennifer Randle & Kerry Woodward (2018). Learning to Labor, Love, and Live: Shaping the Good Neoliberal Citizen in State Work and Marriage Programs. Sociological Perspectives, 61(1): 39. DOI: 10.1177/0731121417707753
  • Ebenezer Obadare (2016). ‘Raising righteous billionaires’: The prosperity gospel reconsidered. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 72(4): . DOI: 10.4102/hts.v72i4.3571
  • Megan M. Wood (2018). All in the family?. Journal of Cultural Economy, 11(1): 83. DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2017.1407955
  • Oki Rahadianto Sutopo, Steven Threadgol & Pam Nilan (2017). Young Indonesian Musicians, Strategic Social Capital, Reflexivity, and Timing. Sociological Research Online, 22(3): 186. DOI: 10.1177/1360780417724063
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