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Subjectification in Times of Indebtedness and Neoliberal/Austerity Urbanism

Di Feliciantonio, C (2016) Subjectification in Times of Indebtedness and Neoliberal/Austerity Urbanism. Antipode, 48 (5). pp. 1206-1227. ISSN 0066-4812


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© 2016 The Author. Antipode © 2016 Antipode Foundation Ltd. How can we analyse the (re)emergence of squatting in relation to the current housing crisis in Italy? Centred on the case of Rome, the paper theorizes this return as resulting from processes of subjectification in the housing sector linked to the raising of indebtedness as a main dispositif of capitalism under neoliberal/austerity urbanism agendas. The political economy-oriented literature on neoliberal/austerity urbanism is bridged with the post-Marxist approach of Maurizio Lazzarato. Debt is seen as the archetype of social relations, shaping and controlling subjectivities, making the “work on yourself” essential to the reproduction of (indebted) society. However, given the circular nature of power, indebtedness can be generative of new processes of subjectification aimed at subverting the same power relation. In this sense, the paper operationalizes the conceptualization of Foucauldian subjectification recently proposed by Judith Revel, emphasizing how subjectification always results from (1) an action/gesture and (2) a consequent deconstruction of the identity.

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