Tag Archives: Foucault

T. Undurraga reseña y comenta Freedom from Work de D. Fridman

Billedresultat[La categoría “debate” es una sección dedicada a discutir a partir de libros publicados por los contribuidores de Estudios de la Economía. En este post Tomás Undurraga comenta el libro Freedom from Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina, (Stanford University Press 2017) de Daniel Fridman. El debate sobre “Freedom from Work” continuará con un comentario de Tomás Ariztía, para terminar con una respuesta de Daniel a los comentaristas] 

Based on careful ethnographic research, this book provides a compelling account of how financial self-help followers aim to change their economic thinking, adopt new practices and thereby reach financial freedom. Freedom from work investigates the expansion of neoliberalism not at a structural level, but rather at the micro level where self-governance is shaped. It follows financial self-help groups, artefacts and actors, paying attention to the philosophy and materiality of their actions – e.g. forums, board games, interactions. The book is based on a two-year ethnographic fieldwork (2008 – 2009) with groups of financial self-help fans in New York and Buenos Aires. Specifically, it focuses on the cult-like influence of Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling books and how devoted readers adopted and spread their views, aiming to do business, gain new followers, and change their lives.

Fridman offers a comprehensive explanation of the logic of financial self-help circuits, the promises which engage fans, and the practices distinctive of the programme. According to Fridman, the popularity of Kiyosaki’s books can be explained by a powerful combination of motivational elements, engaging tools for the development of rational thinking, and his sociological interpretation of late capitalism changes. The book argues that it is the combination of these elements that makes Kiyosaki’s ideas so popular. First, financial fans are personally challenged to voluntarily change their economic perspective, developing the courage to overcome their fears about money. Second, this philosophy promotes discipline in acquiring new financial expertise and tools (literacy in economic history, business planning, accounting practices, taxes, investing). Fans are then encouraged to use these techniques to change their economic practices. Third, Kiyosaki’s programme offers a diagnosis of contemporary capitalism – e.g. the rise of globalisation, the state’s changing role in the economy, and the decline of working conditions – that helps readers make sense of their own personal experiences, and financial grievances. Kiyosaki thus criticises the crises of industrial capitalism, at the same time inviting followers to survive by themselves in this brave new world.

Freedom from work is at its most impressive in revealing the logic by which this financial self-help programme produces the ‘neoliberal self’. Continue reading


Positive psychology’s promise of happiness: A new form of human capital in contemporary neoliberal governmentality

[Nuevo artículo de Rodrigo de la Fabián y Antonio Stecher en Theory & Psychology]

Positive psychology’s promise of happiness: A new form of human capital in contemporary neoliberal governmentality


The article seeks to contribute to governmentality studies by looking anew at the subjectivities posited by neoliberalism and especially by positive psychology. Focusing in particular on Sam Binkley’s critical work on this psychological sub-discipline, we offer a political analysis of the new ways of becoming a subject it proposes. For Binkley, positive psychology operates as a subjectivising vector by promoting a specific kind of work on oneself. His approach, we suggest, rests on a conception that relies on the classical disjunction between production and effort, on the one hand, and consumption and satisfaction, on the other. With references to Foucault, Marx, Becker, and Schultz’s conceptions of work and subjectivity, the article shows that positive psychology’s novelty is to enable a new happy subjective perspective from where happiness, rather than a long-term objective, is considered to be a precondition of work, a radical new form of human capital. Continue reading

Assembling Policy. Transantiago, Human Devices, and the Dream of a World-Class Society

[Sebastian Ureta avisa a EdlE de su nuevo libro Assembling Policy. Transantiago, Human Devices, and the Dream of a World-Class Society publicado por MIT Press. Además de para los y las curiosas en la historia del muy polémico sistema de transporte de Santiago, un libro para aquellas y aquellos interesados en las intersecciones entre STS, análisis de dispositivos e instrumentos de políticas públicas y el rol de los economistas e ingenieros en la gubernamentalidad contemporánea]

PAssembling Policyolicymakers are regularly confronted by complaints that ordinary people are left out of the planning and managing of complex infrastructure projects. In this book, Sebastián Ureta argues that humans, both individually and collectively, are always at the heart of infrastructure policy; the issue is how they are brought into it. Ureta develops his argument through the case of Transantiago, a massive public transportation project in the city of Santiago, proposed in 2000, launched in 2007, and in 2012 called “the worst public policy ever implemented in our country” by a Chilean government spokesman.

Ureta examines Transantiago as a policy assemblage formed by an array of heterogeneous elements—including, crucially, “human devices,” or artifacts and practices through which humans were brought into infrastructure planning and implementation. Ureta traces the design and operation of Transantiago through four configurations: crisis, infrastructuration, disruption, and normalization. In the crisis phase, humans were enacted both as consumers and as participants in the transformation of Santiago into a “world-class” city, but during infrastructuration the “active citizen” went missing. Continue reading

Nikolas Rose en Santiago

Nikolas Rose estará de visita por Chile. Dictará dos conferencias y participará en un conversatorio organizado por el Doctorado en Psicología UDP junto a la Universidad de Talca, los días, 17, 18 y 19 de noviembre de 2015. Detalles en: Continue reading

Cfp_Jornada Biopolítica, Biociencia y Gubernamentalidad

Call for Papers / Presentación de Ponencias. Biopolítica, Biociencia y Gubernamentalidad. 19 de Noviembre de 2015. Esta jornada busca discutir sobre perspectivas actuales en biopolítica y sus cruces con la  biociencia, farmacología y la medicina; así como proponer lecturas que vinculen dichos saberes al individuo y la gubernamentalidad, especialmente en la realidad latinoamericana y chilena en particular. Esta jornada se beneficiará significativamente de la presencia y participación de Nikolas Rose, uno de los pensadores más destacados de la actualidad en el área de Biopolítica, Biociencia y Gubernamentalidad que cerrará el coloquio con una intervención titulada: “Governmentmentality today: analysing political power in a ‘neo-liberal age’”.

Nikolas Rose es profesor y director del Departamento de Sociología en King’s College de Londres (Inglaterra). Su trabajo explora cómo el desarrollo de la ciencia ha cambiado las concepciones de la identidad humana y la gubernamentalidad, y sus implicancias en el entendimiento del futuro de la política, economía y sociedad. Sus publicaciones abarcan numerosos temas y disciplinas, entre los que se incluyen la biología, psicología, sociología, política y derecho. Entre sus libros recientes, destacan “Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind” (2013) y “Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life” (2008). Continue reading

Studying the Failures of Markets for Collective Concerns

[En diciembre pasado, con mis colegas Christian Frankel y Trine Pallesen organizamos el workshop “Markets for collective concerns?”. Escribimos un reporte sobre el evento para el último número de  EASST Review. Comienza así:]

“The workshop “Markets for Collective Concerns?”, that we co-orga­nized, was held at Copenhagen Business School last December 11th and 12th. These brief notes are not a summary. It is our attempt to start digesting the vertigo we still feel about the important questions and challenges for future social and STS inspired studies of markets that were posed during those two days. We will, hopefully, be able to produ­ce a clearer statement of these issues in the expected edited publication collecting the contributions to the workshop. […] The title of the workshop referred to markets that are created not only to ensure economic exchange, but also to deal with specific collective concerns -e.g. poverty, energy supply, and global warming. Markets developed as policy instruments.” Continue reading

Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies Contemporary Currents

Oxford University Press publicó recientemente el Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies Contemporary Currents editado por Paul S. Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan y Michael Reed. El libro es una colección de 30 capítulos, la mayoría escrito por autores que han inspirado algunas de las discusiones en este blog (como F. Cochoy, B. Czarniawska, M. Power, P. Miller) y de temas tales como Garfinkel, Luhmann, Callon, Latour, Foucault, economía de las convenciones y análisis comparado del capitalismo. Entre ellos va el capítulo: “What’s new in the ‘new, new economic sociology’ and should Organization Studies care?” de Liz McFall & José Ossandón (para los interesados una versión de borrador disponible acá). Link a tabla de contenido y capítulo de introducción: Continue reading

Is neoliberalism Weberian? An interview with Nicholas Gane

9780230242036Like a sociological detective of ideas, professor of sociology at the University of Warwick Nicholas Gane (2012, 2014 a, b) has been following the traces of social scientific thought in neoliberalism. The initial clue was given by Michel Foucault who in his Birth of Biopolitics argued that Max Weber’s work not only influenced critical theorists such as Adorno and Horkheimer but also one of the main branches within neoliberal thinking, German ordoliberalism. While Gane’s research ended up finding Foucault’s Weber-Ordoliberals connections rather thin, the investigation took him to an even more worrying result, namely, Weber’s influence on the work of Ludwig von Mises and his followers in Vienna, including the über neoliberal Friedrich Hayek. In this interview carried out at Warwick early June, Gane talks about his recent inquiry and its consequences. Continue reading

“Tu puedes ser feliz”: bosquejos para una línea de investigación sobre felicidad, psicología positiva y gubernamentalidad neoliberal

En no más de una década y por diversas vías y mecanismos, y en complejas articulaciones con otros discursos, prácticas y técnicas, la “felicidad” -tradicionalmente entendida como un tópico de la especulación filosófica o un atributo inasible de la experiencia singular de las personas (Binkley, 2011a)- se transformó en un nuevo eje de problematización e inteligibilidad de lo social, en un objeto de análisis, medición e intervención de la política pública, en un eje de la gestión de las organizaciones (Happy Manager), en un anhelo que orienta las acciones y decisiones de los sujetos y que modela el modo de relación con uno mismo. Para aquellos dedicados al análisis de los discursos que permean y configuran la vida económica y de las organizaciones en la sociedad contemporánea, la irrupción de la felicidad y su arraigo en diferentes organismos e instancias –universidades, ministerios, consultoras, organismos internacionales, medios masivos de comunicación, empresas, etc.-, constituye una temática de creciente interés.
Continue reading

“Experts are in the role of being asked questions they cannot possibly answer”. An interview with Gil Eyal.

Foto para publicar

On Thursday the 17th January, Gil Eyal has the generosity of meeting us in Columbia University to answer some questions related to his work. Gil is professor of classical theory and sociology of expertise in the department of sociology and he is one of the most prestigious sociologists in the study of economists and neoliberalism. His first research concerns were related to Eastern European State bureaucrats and new social classes. At 2002, he published a landmark paper with Johanna Bockman using the latourian idea of translation to understand neoliberalism and global networks and in 2010 he co-authored an influential review of current sociology of interventions. Most recently he was interested in autism and the role of different experts in its construction and treatment. Here the questions and our dialogue.

Continue reading