Late capitalism and the imperative of authenticity: the governance of authenticity in the neoliberal era

Lyritsas, Romanos (2019) Late capitalism and the imperative of authenticity: the governance of authenticity in the neoliberal era. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Along with the birth of the modern subject the demand for the authenticity of the self emerges. Until a certain point in its history, capitalism has been seen as a homogenizing system that suppresses diversity and the authentic core of the self; consequently, until that point, the demand for authenticity, despite its co-emergence with capitalism, had a radical anticapitalistic aspect. In contrast today, late capitalist societies integrate rather than suppress diversity and value pluralism; rather than drive for homogeneity they thrive on heterogeneity. In contrast to previous stages of capitalism, late capitalist societies not only have embraced the idea of authenticity, but they have been increasing its demand.
The aim of this thesis is to examine the redefinition of the relationship between capitalism and authenticity. The analysis aims at moving beyond the opposition between the fake and the authentic, to examine the ways that the contemporary self is shaped by the conditions of late capitalism and neoliberal government. Such an analysis requires the acknowledgement of the biopolitical nature of capitalism and its immanent relationship with the production of subjectivity.
The first chapter of the thesis critically reviews attempts in recent social theory that examine the relationship of late capitalism with authenticity. The second chapter examines the economic and power relations that defined the subject in industrial capitalism. It is shown that the individual was subjected to the homogenizing forces of disciplinary technologies of power and liberal forms of government. The third chapter examines the different ways that conformity is achieved as a result of neoliberal governmentality and the new modes of surveillance that underpin it. The fourth chapter deals with the characteristics of the entrepreneurial subject and the new subjective form that emerges in the conditions established by late capitalism and neoliberal government. It is argued that the entrepreneurial self is a self-responsible, autonomous subject who has to construct their life-project through calculated choices in all aspects of their life. The last chapter claims that the entrepreneurial self, in addition to all the other responsibilities, is weighted with the imperative to be authentic, with the responsibility to construct their own authentic identity. It is argued that the imposition of the obligation to “be yourself” has negative consequences for the subject but also for our common, political life.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Late capitalism, Authenticity, Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Biopower, Governmentality, the Entrepreneurial Self
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General) > B0105 Special topics, A-Z > B0105.A8 Authenticity
H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0501 Capital. Capitalism
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC501 Purpose, functions, and relations of the state > JC0571 State and the individual. Human rights. Civil rights > JC0574 Liberalism
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2019 11:47
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48

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