Cynical Neoliberalism: Foucault and the Limits of Ethical Resistance

28 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2016

See all articles by Gordon Hull

Gordon Hull

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: June 29, 2016

Abstract

Foucault’s account of parrhēsia shows why it would have little critical traction today. In Foucault’s analysis, parrhēsia has both a political and an ethical phase; Cynicism is the most radical version of the ethical phase. The primary characteristic of Cynical parrhēsia is full visibility, something which Foucault does not endorse but which neoliberal biopolitics actively demands. More fundamentally, ethical parrhēsia fails as a resistance strategy because branding capital blurs the boundaries between affirmations of capital and its critique, enabling the full cooption of parrhēsia-as-visibility into the process of branding. Our problem is a lack of politics.

Keywords: Foucault, parrhesia, neoliberalism, cynicism, biopower

Suggested Citation

Hull, Gordon, Cynical Neoliberalism: Foucault and the Limits of Ethical Resistance (June 29, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2802249 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2802249

Gordon Hull (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Department of Philosophy ( email )

9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

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