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Revisiting ‘The Birth of Biopolitics’: Foucault's Account of Neoliberalism and the Remaking of Social Policy



The article charts the history and trajectory of neoliberalism provided in Foucault's 1979 lectures on ‘The Birth of Biopolitics’. In these fascinating contributions, first published in English translation ten years ago, Foucault identifies German and American forms of neoliberalism, defined in opposition to both the Beveridge reforms and Roosevelt's New Deal. In seeking to comprehend Foucault's articulation of neoliberalism it is important to locate it in the context of contemporary debates on the future of socialism and the reconfiguration of social policy. Despite theoretical problems with his account, the lecture series continues to aid our understanding of the contemporary evolution of social policy.



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