The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978--1979
Why this book?
In these extraordinary lectures, Foucault offers a comprehensive social history of neoliberal theory from the 1920s to 1980 in Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S. While this work does not focus on racism, Foucault critically elaborates neoliberalism’s defining ideas: the attack on the state and dissipation of the commons, the privatization of everything, and the individualizing of all responsibility; financializing all social and individual choice, while redefining social subjectivity as “the Man of Enterprise,” of innovation and self-making. Foucault opened me to seeing how the liberal in “neoliberalism” signals the elevation of individual freedom as a counter to state power and social support. The question this raised for me is how these shifts in social thought suggest new developments in racist expression.