The Queer Thing about Neoliberal Pleasure: A Foucauldian Warning

Shannon Winnubst


Through a careful reading of Foucault’s 1979 lectures on neoliberalism alongside Volumes 1 and 2 of The History of Sexuality, I argue that scholarship on both neoliberalism and queer theory should heed Foucault’s framing of both neoliberalism and sexuality as central to biopolitics. I thus offer two correctives to these fields of scholarship: for scholarship on neoliberalism, I locate a way to address the ethical bankruptcy of neoliberalism in a manner that Marxist analyses fail to provide; for scholarship in queer theory, I warn that the longstanding embrace of non-conformity as a mode of resistance to normalization is suspiciously neoliberal. I conclude with the possibility of rehabilitating the concept of jouissance as a non-fungible limit to the enterprising rationality of neoliberalism that, if historicized and especially racialized, might offer a meaningful response to the increasing ethical collapse wrought by the neoliberalization of our lives.

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2012 Shannon Winnubst

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

visitors since Feb 2009. Hosted by CBS Library