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The psychic life of neoliberalism: mapping the contours of entrepreneurial subjectivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Early online date9 Jul 2015
E-pub ahead of print9 Jul 2015
Published1 Nov 2016


King's Authors


This article adds to contemporary analyses of neoliberalism by shedding light on its psychic life. Writers in the Foucauldian tradition have explored how subjectivities are reconstituted under neoliberalism, showing that the neoliberal self is an entrepreneurial subject. Yet, there has been little empirical research that explores entrepreneurial subjectivity and, more specifically, its psychic life. By drawing on over 60 in-depth interviews with individuals who may be entrepreneurial subjects par excellence, this article adds to our understanding of how neoliberalism is lived out. The article is divided into 10 sections, with each section exploring a distinct contour of entrepreneurial subjectivity. They show, for example, that competition is not only other-directed under neoliberalism, but also directed at the self, and that exclusionary processes lie at the heart of the constitution of entrepreneurial subjectivities. By providing a theoretically informed analysis of a wealth of empirical data, the article makes an original contribution to our understanding of the psychic life of neoliberalism.

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