Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | The Neoliberal Self

Title:
The Neoliberal Self
Author:
Jim McGuigan: Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, UK
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146223
Read article:
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
References:

Althusser, Louis (1970/1984): ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation)’, Essays on Ideology, London: Verso.

Ball, James & Tom Clark (2013): ‘Generation Self’, G2 of The Guardian, 12 March 2013, 6-8.

Beck, Ulrich & Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (2001/2002): Individualization, London: Sage.

Boltanski, Luc & Eve Chiapello (1999/2005): The New Spirit of Capitalism, London: Verso.

Bourdieu, Pierre & Loic Wacquant (2001): ‘NewLiberalSpeak: Notes on the New Planetary Vulgate’, Radical Philosophy,105 January-February, 2-5.

Brown, Wendy (2005): ‘Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy’, Ch. 3 of her Edgework – Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 37-59.

Budgen, Sebastian (2000): ‘A New Spirit of Capitalism’, New Left Review,1 (second series), January-February 2000, pp149-156.

Castells, Manuel (1996): The Rise of the Network Society, Malden, MA & Oxford: Blackwell.

Chang, Ha-Joon (2013): ‘A Nation in Decay’, Guardian, 9 March, 50.

Elliott, Anthony & John Urry (2010): Mobile Lives, London: Routledge: 2010, x.

Foucault, Michel (2004/2008): The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979, translated by Graham Burchill, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Glynn, Andrew (2006): Capitalism Unleashed – Finance, Globalization, and Welfare, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Habermas, Jurgen (1970), ‘Towards a Theory of Communicative Competence’, Hans Peter Dreizel (ed.): Recent Sociology 2 – Patterns of Communicative Behavior, New York: Macmillan.

Hall, Stuart (1988): The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis if the Left, London: Verso.

Haliday, Josh (2012): ‘The Quiet Lifestyle of the 28-year-old, 23rd wealthiest person on Earth’, Guardian, 19 May 2012, 31.

Hall, Stuart (2011): ‘The Neoliberal Revolution’, Soundings,48, Summer, 9-27. DOI: 10.3898/136266211797146828

Harvey, David (2005): A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haunschild, Axel & Doris Ruth Eikhof (2009): ‘Bringing Creativity to Market: Actors as Self-Employed Employees’, Alan McKinlay & Chris Smith (eds): Creative Labour: Working in the Creative Industries, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 156-173.

Hilferding, Rudolf (1919/1981): Finance Capital: A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development, translated by Tom Bottomore, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Isaacson, Walter (2011): Steve Jobs, London: Little, Brown.

Kamenetz, Anya (2006): Generation Debt: Why Now is a Terrible to be Young, New York: Riverdale.

David Kirkpatrick (2010/2011): The Facebook Effect, London: Virgin/Random House.

Klein, Naomi (2000): 1st edn., No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, London: Flamingo 2000.

Klein, Naomi (2007): The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism, London: Allen Lane.

Lasch, Christopher (1979): The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminished Expectations, New York: Norton.

Lasch, Christopher (1984): The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times, New York: Norton.

Levine, Donald (ed.) (1971): Georg Simmel: On Individuality and Social Form, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226924694.001.0001

MacPherson, Crawford Brough (1964): The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McGuigan, Jim (2009): Cool Capitalism, London: Pluto.

McGuigan, Jim (2012): ‘The Coolness of Capitalism Today’, Triple C – Cognition, Communication, Co-operation 10.2, 425-438.

Quart, Alissa (2003): Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, London: Arrow.

Riesman, David, with Nathan Glazer & Reuel Denny, (1950/2001) The Lonely Crowd – A Study of the Changing American Character, 2nd Revised Edition, Newhaven: Yale University Press.

Ross, Andrew (2009): Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labour in Precarious Times, New York: New York.

Schor, Juliet (2004): Born to Buy: The Commercialised Child and the New Consumer Culture, New York: Scribner.

Sheller, Mimi & John Urry (2006): ‘The New Mobilities Paradigm’, Environment and Planning A 38, 207-226. DOI: 10.1068/a37268

Stedman Jones, Daniel (2012): Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Tressell, Robert (1914/2004): The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, London: Penguin.

Twenge, Jean (2006): Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – And More Miserable Than Ever Before, New York: Free Press.

Urry, John (2007): Mobilities, Cambridge: Polity.

Weber, Max (1905/2002): The Protestant Ethic and the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism (and other writings), translated by Peter Baehr & Gordon C. Wells, London: Penguin.

Whimster, Sam (ed.) (2004): The Essential Weber: A Reader, London: Routledge.

Williams, Raymond (1974): Television: Technology and Cultural Form, London: Fontana. DOI: 10.4324/9780203426647

Yergen, Daniel & Joseph Stanislaw (1998/2002): The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy, New York: Touchstone.

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 (2017). Learning to Labor, Love, and Live: Shaping the Good Neoliberal Citizen in State Work and Marriage Programs. Sociological Perspectives, : 073112141770775. 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
  •  

    Export in BibTex, RIS or text