Resisting Government: Rethinking Delinquency in a Neoliberal Age

Dr Anna Anderson1

1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

The rise of neo-liberal modes of governing young people is a central concern for critical criminology. Scholars studying this phenomenon often deploy Foucault’s concept of governmentality as a key conceptual resource and focus of their analyses. This conceptual innovation has produced valuable analyses concerning the transformation of technologies of control.  Yet, a key criticism of the concept is that it does not allow for the possibility of contestation and resistance. So how can we understand youth delinquency in the neo-liberal age? In this paper, I will address this question. This discussion will serve as the rationale for introducing an additional concept drawn from Foucault’s final work which I will argue can extend analyses of governmentality to a consideration of contestation and resistance. I will conclude by examining how this concept might address the apparent lack of empirical and conceptual research on the question of resistance in governmentality studies of the neo-liberal government of young people. The discussion is essentially theoretical but will rely on empirical materials for illustration.


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