November 6, 2014, by criticalmoment

Centre for Critical Theory Workshop: Neoliberalism, Criticism and Crisis (November 20th)

In this second workshop in an intermittent series devoted to exploring relations between neoliberalism, criticism, and crisis, we propose to adopt a more detailed focus on issues to do with neoliberal subjects and with law (and/or the lack of it) in contemporary politics.

We will be exploring a number of key readings and there will be two presentations, by Cosmin Cercel and by Colin Wright, which will draw on their own research projects, but which will be articulated in relationship to those readings. Colin Wright’s talk, entitled ‘Bouncebackability: The Production and Governance of the Resilient Subject’, will explore the role of the psychology and neuroscience of resilience in the production of the neoliberal subject supposedly adapted to crises. In the interests of resisting resilience, his talk will also outline the very different ethical and political implications of the subject as conceived by Lacanian psychoanalysis. Cosmin Cercel’s talk, ‘Beyond Exception: Law, Emergency and the Powers of Capital’ seeks to examine the ways in which repressive practices in the sphere of law and security frame the ideological background of neoliberalism in which the resilient subject emerges. In attempting to further problematize the link between law, crisis and the subject, the talk will explore with and against Mark Neocleous the limits of Agamben’s paradigm of the ‘state of exception’.

Four key texts are proposed as a starting point for discussion:

–     Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society (London: Verso, 2009) Chapter Nine

–     Rhys Jones, Jessica Pykett, and Mark Whitehead Changing Behaviours: On the Rise of the Psychological State (Elgar: Cheltenham, 2013) Chapter One

–     Mark Neocleous Critique of Security (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008) Chapter Two

–     Mark Neocleous War Power, Police Power (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014) Chapter Seven

Copies of readings can be accessed here:

The workshop extends the discussion initiated earlier, in May this year, but does not require prior knowledge from that session, and there are no obligations on participants to be involved beyond this session. Participants are encouraged to read all texts beforehand. It will take place in room A19 in the Trent Building, 2-5, on Thursday November the 20th.

Staff and students, postgraduate and undergraduate, are all welcome to participate.

If you are likely to attend or would like further details, please email Andrew Goffey at

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