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Spring 2024


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An Interview with Michel Feher
Left Melancholy, Neoliberalism, and the Investee Condition

New from Public Seminar, an interview with Michel Feher and an excerpt from his recent book, Rated Agency:Investee Politics in a Speculative Age. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below:

“PUBLIC SEMINAR: What motivated you to write Rated Agency?

MICHEL FEHER: Well, three motivations probably. The first one, which is the longer one, comes from reading many years ago Foucault’s lectures on neoliberalism and then thinking through that from the Foucauldian perspective but also realizing soon that these lectures were delivered in 1979 and the last one was delivered two or three weeks before Thatcher was elected for the first time. So these were lectures that took place before or on year zero of the neoliberal era and so they talk about the neoliberal agenda as it was developed by neoliberal scholars. They don’t talk for obvious reason what neoliberalism became once these reforms were actually implemented. And so what struck me and that was the starting point of the work and its first incarnation was an article I wrote in 2009 in Public Culture: the type of subject that is constituted by the neoliberal regime or the neoliberal art of government is quite different from the one that the neoliberal scholars had in mind and that Foucault described. In other words, the entrepreneur of the self, the concept that you find in Foucault’s lectures, is, or at least so is my claim, not something that actually panned out and that the reason why it didn’t pan out is the financialization of neoliberal policy but not the actualization of their agenda. So that discrepancy is the beginning of the project.”