This course will first analyze Marx’s writings on capitalism (primarily Capital and Grundrisse) and then turn to contemporary critical formulations of neoliberalism (Foucault, Peck, Clarke, Laval, Comoroff and others). We will spend a fair amount of time with Foucault’s lectures on neoliberalism (The Birth of Biopolitics) and with commentary on those lectures.
We will focus on grasping what is and isn’t distinctive about neoliberalism as a theory, description and form of capitalism. We will also consider which parts of Marx’s analysis of capitalism remain useful and which do notâ€”commodities, fetishism, surplus value, capital accumulation, theory of value, productive/unproductive labor, etc. And we will be exploring shifts from exchange to structured competition, laissez faire to governmentality, materialism to normative reason, labor to human capital, interest to entrepreneurialism, productivity to financialization, freedom to responsibilization, concentration to devolution.
This course is not an introduction to Marx or neoliberalism. It presumes knowledge of both, even as we will attempt to defamiliarize and rethink both.
Enrollment by permission of instructor. Students interested in the course should place themselves onto the wait list.