How does neoliberalism govern us? From institutions to subjectivity – organized by UAM research group MIRCo


From April 23 to May 6, the UAM research group MIRCo (Multilingualism, Social Identities, Intercultural Relations and Communication) to which the member of Demospaz belongs, Luisa Martín Rojo, presents the seminar “How does the neoliberalism? From institutions to subjectivity”.

On the occasion of both the presentation of the research center MIRCO (Multilingualism International Research Group & discourse Observatory) and the launch of our book Language and Neoliberal Governmentality (Martín Rojo & Del Percio in Routledge 2019), MIRCO -in its twentieth anniversary as a research group-, we host an international and multidisciplinary seminar, which will be also integrated into the doctoral training programme of the UAM. The aim of the seminar is to reflect on a crucial issue today: How does neoliberalism govern us? Today, neoliberalism is a form of governance that extends its market logic beyond the economy, molding our public and private lives. Neoliberal principles of a free market like globalization, deregulation, flexibility, and competition have permeated health and educational institutions, imposed the entrepreneurial productive model, and turned us into clients of public services. Education prioritizes the formation of new elites with access to global mobility, and punishes those who do not reach this goal, ultimately restricting the porosity of borders. The commodification affects both human expressions and the management of common goods. We used to build connections and create community with languages; now languages are the key to compete in the job market. At work, flexibility, mobility, and insecurity are constant realities that generate inequality and create paralegal spaces due to their lack of transparency. All professions respond to a corporate logic, which makes us consultants or entrepreneurs. In this way, we are encouraged to manage ourselves as businesses, acquire competencies, titles, and language skills, exploit ourselves to survive in a competitive world, and increase our own productivity as well as that of the organizations for which we work. As entrepreneurial subjects, we sometimes feel like winners, but many other times, like losers.

Many unanswered questions emerge from this situation, and we must respond. What makes it possible for neoliberal principles to colonize the different spheres of our lives? How can we counteract this neoliberal rationality and revert the practices and techniques that govern our conduct and mold our subjectivities? How is neoliberal discourse constructed and what role does it have? How can we avoid reproducing and internalizing it?

With the goal of answering these questions this seminar, organised as a transdisciplinar training activity for PhD students, brings together several researchers with long trajectories studying neoliberalism, such as Christian Laval and Edgar Cabanas, as well as young researchers who will facilitate workshops about their research interests (from the neoliberalization of education and the stylization of youth poverty to the presentation of neoliberal subjects on Tinder). In this same framework, we will present the book Language and Neoliberal Governmentality (Martin Rojo), which addresses many of these topics through an empirical study of neoliberal rationality, and the discursive and linguistic mechanisms through which it permeates society and subjects. Furthermore, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UAM research group MIRCo.

April, 23rd, 30th; May, 4th, 5th & 6th
Centro Cultural La Corrala (3, 5 Carlos Arniches Street)
April, 24th
Bookstore Traficantes de sueños (13 Duque de Alba Street)
April, 28th
Room D (Sala mixta) – Plaza Mayor, (UAM)

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