The Emerging of the Entrepreneurial Self and Its Current Hegemony. Some Basic Reflections on How to Analyze the Formation and Transformation of Modern Forms of Subjectivity

Andrea D. Bührmann


Numerous investigations in the field of Governmentality Studies have sought to understand the contemporary (trans-) formational process underlying the way modern subjectivation is constructed. These studies assert that an "enterprising self" emerged at the end of the 1970s and appears to have become hegemonic. Why did this self emerge and how could it have become hegemonic? This unsolved problem reveals a deep-seated issue: It is completely unclear how the (trans-) formational process underlying modern subjectivation can be theoretically conceptualized and empirically depicted while avoiding both the presupposition of an ontological reduction as well as the pitfall of discursively dissolving subjectivity. It is proposed here to conceive of this (trans-) formational process by applying the investigations of Michel FOUCAULT and to regard this process as an effect of dispositive practices, the historical and concrete interplay of which is thereby appropriately investigated with the help of dispositive analyses. Because FOUCAULT in his dispositive analyses did not systematically investigate socially structuring categories such as class, ethnicity, or gender it is necessary to reconstruct the process of subjectivation by using FOUCAULT's dispositive studies as a starting point and then to ground this in social theory. Since some studies have already posited the attribution of gender to the grounding of the enterprising self, it is necessary here to begin by formulating an outline for the social grounding of the Foucauldian dispositive analysis on the category of gender. The reconstruction of such a dispositive analysis grounded in social theory can serve as a methodological starting point for the investigation of the (trans-) formational process of modern subjectivation. In doing so, the initial research gap in this area can be closed to a certain extent.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0501165


enterprising self; modern subjectivation; governmentality studies; discourse analysis; power and dispositive; socially structuring category of gender

Copyright (c) 2005 Andrea D. Bührmann

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