Neoliberalism and Biopolitics: Interdisciplinary Dialogues

Wendy Brown
Political Science
UC Berkeley

Martin Jay
UC Berkeley

This working group investigated the role of neoliberalism and biopolitics as both contemporary objects of study and paradigms of analysis for humanistic and social scientific inquiry. While the two concepts were originally linked together at both the historical and conceptual level by Michel Foucault’s 1978-79 Collège de France lectures, their contemporary usage extends far beyond this earlier articulation. Today, neoliberalism and biopolitics are increasingly used across the humanities as conceptual tools to apprehend new forms of political power, social control, technological developments, and economic orders. Co-sponsored by The Program in Critical Theory, this working group brought together diverse scholars in a series of five meetings to evaluate contemporary scholarship on neoliberalism and biopolitics, while also interrogating the compatibility of different approaches that seek to deploy both concepts.