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Neoliberal Subjectivity and Gendered Inequalities

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Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP,volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter traces the notion of neoliberal subjectivity from a conceptual and empirical perspective. It explores to what extent neoliberal discourses transform how young people understand themselves. The conceptual part juxtaposes the two often referred approaches to subjectivity by Beck and Beck-Gernsheim and by Foucault. Drawing on two empirical studies on the life plans of young adults in Switzerland, the chapter then fleshes out how neoliberal subjectivity manifests in young people’s understandings of themselves. The final section relates the findings to studies from other contexts and discusses the consequences of this self-concept of young adults. Using gender as the primary analytical category, the chapter illustrates how neoliberal subjectivity individualizes responsibility and thereby privatizes persisting inequalities.

Keywords

  • Youth
  • Young adults
  • Subjectivity
  • Identity
  • Neoliberalism
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Inequality
  • Discourse
  • Switzerland

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the project “Gender Inequalities in Educational and Vocational Pathways” within the Swiss National Science Foundation’s National Research Program 60.

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Correspondence to Karin Schwiter .

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Schwiter, K. (2015). Neoliberal Subjectivity and Gendered Inequalities. In: Worth, N., Dwyer, C., Skelton, T. (eds) Identities and Subjectivities. Geographies of Children and Young People, vol 4. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4585-91-0_3-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4585-91-0_3-1

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