Me on Foucault and 2 Types of Neoliberalism in a Turkish Journal

‘Foucault on Two Types of Neoliberalism: ORDO Liberalism and Anarcholiberalism, along with European Historical Roots’ (in English) in Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, latest issue. See linked pdf, my article starts page 187. It represents early work for a project on Foucault and liberty (also nodding towards work on philosophy of Europe).


Michel Foucault is well known for writing on Neoliberalism, but the richness of his approach should be better understood, along with its place in his work as a whole. Foucault does not refer to Neoliberalism as one thing, but as divided into two types: Ordoliberalism and anarcholiberalism. That is between a more institutional version allowing for some state direction and a more anti-statist version. This overlaps with a distinction between Europe and the United States. It also connects with Foucault’s interests in the relation between the roles of Germany and France in European history with regard to state sovereignty and law. The interaction of France and Germany has produced various conflicting and coalescing ideas of liberty and the state up to the way Neoliberal ideas have circulated. In the context of Foucault’s own development, his investigations into Neoliberalism build on work on Enlightenment liberalism, bringing in Phenomenological anti-naturalism as a way of understanding the difference. It also builds on work on the development of political economy from its earliest texts to the work of Marx. The discussion of earlier political economy emphasises its place in a philosophy of history and humanism, which is recontextualised in Foucault’s work on Neoliberalism. Foucault’s work on the inevitability of blindness and subjectivity in epistemology, along with the role of subjectivity in ethics, also develops through the encounter with Neoliberalism.