Confessing Preferences: What Foucault's Government of the Living Can Tell Us About Neoliberalism and Big Data
17 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 19, 2016
Foucault’s 1979-80 Collège de France lectures, On the Government of the Living, offer one way to situate the development of his later work, and in particular to understand his supposed turn away from biopolitics and governmentality to ethics and subjectivity. In this paper, I argue that (1) a unifying thread in most of Foucault’s work from the late 1970s onward is an increasing concern with the centrality of confession as a primary technology of power in the Christian West; and (2) Neoliberalism is deeply confessional, and therefore highly suspect from a Foucauldian standpoint. (3) These connections are particularly evident in a Foucauldian reading of data analytics (“big data”).
Keywords: Foucault, confession, neoliberalism, governmentality, big data
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