From ‘Entrepreneur of the Self’ to ‘Care of the Self’: Neo-liberal Governmentality and Foucault’s Ethics


  • Andrew Dilts Loyola Marymount University



In his 1979 lectures, Foucault took particular interest in the reconfiguration of quotidian practices under neo-liberal human capital theory, re-describing all persons as entrepreneurs of the self. By the early 1980s, Foucault had begun to articulate a theory of ethical conduct driven not by the logic of investment, but of artistic development and self-care. This article uses Foucault’s account of human capital as a basis to explore the meaning and limits of Foucault’s final published works and argues for two interrelated genealogical projects focused on the ethics of economic activity.

Author Biography

Andrew Dilts, Loyola Marymount University

Andrew Dilts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University, and previously a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago. His work focuses broadly on the history of political thought, and in particular on the discursive relationships between political membership, subjectivity, sovereignty, and punishment. He is currently working on two book projects. The first gives a theoretical account of felon disenfranchisement as it has been practiced in the United States, while the second project is a study of Michel Foucault's ethical thought in relation to neo-liberal economic theories of subjectivity.




How to Cite

Dilts, A. (2011). From ‘Entrepreneur of the Self’ to ‘Care of the Self’: Neo-liberal Governmentality and Foucault’s Ethics. Foucault Studies, (12), 130–146.