Dardot and Laval on the Neoliberal Rationality

I want to give one pertinent quote that explains what I discussed in the preceding post. The quote is from The New Way of the World: On Neo-Liberal Society by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, which is one of the best books I have read on neoliberalism:

“In a word, and perhaps paradoxically, nothing better reveals the nature of neo-liberal rationality than developments in the practices of governments that for thirty years have professed themselves on the Left, while conducting a policy very similar to the Right” (184).

And one more quote on the profoundly neoliberal nature of all these non-conformist, seemingly rebellious personalities:

“The subject is no longer required simply to be ‘conformist’, to slip ungrudgingly into the ordinary garb of agents of economic production and social reproduction. Not only is conformism no longer enough. It even becomes suspect, in as much as subjects are enjoined to ‘surpass themselves’, to ‘push back the limits’” (283).

And just one more because I love these authors and can’t stop quoting once I started:

“No ethical principle, no taboo, any longer seems to resist the glorification of infinite, unlimited choice. Placed in a condition of ‘symbolic weightlessness’, neo-subjects are obliged to base themselves on themselves, in the name of freedom of choice, to conduct themselves in life. This summons to constant choice, this solicitation of supposedly unlimited desires, makes subjects floating pawns. One day they are invited to change cars, the next to change partners, the next their identity, and another day their sex, in accordance with the mechanism of satisfaction and dissatisfaction” (293).

This is just so you, folks, see that I’m not inventing any of these things.

One thought on “Dardot and Laval on the Neoliberal Rationality

  1. And this is why there is so much advocacy for change. Change is good … Ph.D. programs in leading institutional change … go shopping to emotionally manage change.


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