Confessing Preferences: What Foucault's Government of the Living Can Tell Us About Neoliberalism and Big Data

17 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2016

See all articles by Gordon Hull

Gordon Hull

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Department of Philosophy

Date Written: December 19, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Hull, Gordon, Confessing Preferences: What Foucault's Government of the Living Can Tell Us About Neoliberalism and Big Data (December 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2887480

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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