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Conferences & lectures

Oliver Davis: "The bureaucracies of neoliberal governance vs. the customary rights of the poor"

Friday, March 16, 2018
3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Professor Oliver Davis


This event is free


Henry F. Hall Building
1455 De Maisonneuve W.
Room H-1120



In this talk, Professor Oliver Davis (University of Warwick) consolidates an emerging neo-Marcusian ‘new critique’ of bureaucracy from political and technical insights into neoliberalism, its bureaucratic processes and ideology of ‘governance.' He argues that what is significant about bureaucracy under neoliberalism is its proliferating plurality: overlapping bureaucratic fiefdoms and the rankings they orchestrate come into being without regulation of their cumulative effects and side-effects as these bear down upon the subject.

Davis contributes to this developing critique by arguing: (i) after Beck (1992) and Rigakos (2016), that the ubiquity of risk-based thinking has securitised competitive hierarchisation. He then aligns this critique with his account of philosopher of radical equality Jacques Rancière (Davis, 2010) and the work of organisation studies scholar Thomas Diefenbach (2013), in arguing that the proliferation of ranking under neoliberalism draws strength from – as it multiplies – a longstanding western metaphysics of hierarchy.

Oliver Davis is Reader in French Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts at Warwick University, UK. He has published the critical introduction to Jacques Rancière (Polity, 2010), which appeared in German translation in 2014 and is also due out in Farsi later this year, as well as the edited volume Rancière Now (Polity, 2013). His research interests include contemporary continental philosophy and critical theory, queer theory and modern and contemporary French society and culture.

The organizers wish to thank the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC) for its generous financial contribution toward the sponsorship of this lecture.

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