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Social, Economic and Political Sciences (B1)

De erg

Professor : Magali Michaux

Rather than condensing the intellectual histories of three disciplines, the course will seek to address social, political and economic issues together by attempting to answer this question: what is our current socio-economic-political situation? To answer this question, we will explore what is known as neo-liberalism in two steps.

1. Capitalism: theorization, functioning and history

In the first semester, the course will focus on the economic dimension (even if it is obviously inseparable from the social and political dimensions) in order to examine the functioning of the capitalist economy, as it was thought by its first theorists - such as Adam Smith or Karl Marx. If Marx will still allow us to think about the history of capitalism, we will put his theses to the test of a feminist critique, by relying on the work of Silvia Federici, in order to consider the process of primitive accumulation in connection with the appropriation of extra-European spaces, slavery and the exclusion of women. This will allow us to think about the articulation between class, race and gender. Finally, we will return to the evolution of economic theory and its incarnations under Reagan and Thatcher.

2. Capitalism, democracy and the individual

In the second term, the focus will shift to the articulations between the political and economic dimensions. To do so, we will revisit the notion of power, exploring the approach of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze; of the public sphere as problematized by Nancy Fraser; before studying the phenomena of de-democratization theorized by Wendy Brown. We will return to the ways in which the individual reshapes her/his relationships to herself/himself and to others in economic forms, relying on Eva Illouz's proposals to examine how dimensions a priori posed as intimate and uncalculated are impregnated with neoliberal logics. Similarly, we will examine the notion of the pharmacopornographic regime as proposed by Paul Preciado.

The course thus aims at examining a series of concepts that allow us to think about our present, by placing them in their context and measuring their relevance against the yardstick of both their critique and current events. To do so, we will use different media: theoretical texts that we will read together in order to experience them and to ensure a progressive autonomy in the theoretical apprehension; press articles and videos available online in order to put in tension these concepts with some of their possible incarnations.

The evaluation is done in the form of work: the mastery of concepts seen in class is evaluated in their appropriation and their use to think about current events. In the first term, the student will be asked to analyze in writing a situation of resistance to exploitation, and in the second term to present orally and in writing a theoretical text that allows for thinking about an aspect of contemporary articulations between capitalism, democracy and the individual.