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ERIC Number: EJ915222
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1478-2103
Governmentality of Youth: Managing Risky Subjects
Besley, Tina A. C.
Policy Futures in Education, v8 n5 p528-547 2010
This article poses the question: How do understandings of governmentality play out in discourses of youth? In the twenty-first-century neoliberal contexts of consumer capitalist societies, discourses of youth need now to move beyond the valuable earlier understandings based on psychological and cultural/subcultural studies to harness Foucault's notion of governmentality. In terms of governmentality, if youth cannot or will not control their conduct, they cease to be "docile bodies" and "useful" to the state. If their behavior becomes unacceptable and criminal, the state will intervene, administering its biopower in the form of the youth justice system--governmentality in action, which is probably the biggest risk of all for youth, especially in the disciplinary, punitive way it is formulated in much of the USA, where it totally ignores the theoretical findings of youth development that have been established in psychological discourses. The first section of the article briefly discusses the emergence of Foucault's notion of governmentality. The second section examines a dominant discourse of youth--youth "at risk". It starts with definitions, and then covers therapeutic and economic aspects of risk management. These include technologies of the self via a range of voluntary and community-based socio-psy programs and interventions; and social security, risk assessment, risk management and insurance. The third section, "Beyond Cultural Studies", analyzes the importance of changing economic conceptions of the self which demand something more than perspectives garnered solely from cultural studies. The author argues that a Foucauldian history of "homo economicus", as in the last four lectures of "The Birth of Bio-politics" (2008), and a critical engagement with the economics of the self where the dominance of pure rationality models have given way to a consideration of a range of psychological attributes that influence our economic decision-making, are valuable additions to traditional cultural studies of youth. (Contains 27 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Social Security