Friday, February 19, 2010

Required Reading for Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Neurotic Citizen by Engin F. Isin (abstract):

"Over the last three decades we have witnessed the birth of a subject that has constituted the foundations of a regime change in state societies: the neoliberal subject. As much as neoliberalism came to mean the withdrawal of the state from certain arenas, the decline of social citizenship, privatization, downloading, and so forth, it also meant, if not predicated upon, the production of an image of the subject as sufficient, calculating, responsible, autonomous, and unencumbered. While the latter point has been a topic of debate concerning the rational subject, I wish to argue that the rational subject has itself been predicated upon and accompanied by another subject: the neurotic subject. More recently, it is this neurotic subject that has become the object of various governmental projects whose conduct is based not merely on calculating rationalities but also arises from and responds to fears, anxieties and insecurities, which I consider as ‘governing through neurosis’. The rise of the neurotic citizen signals a new type of politics (neuropolitics) and power (neuropower). I suggest a new concept, neuroliberalism—a rationality of government that takes its subject as the neurotic citizen—as an object of analysis."


  1. It would be interesting to think about this in relation to the particular neurosis being produced in connection to the fact that we're not living up to our medal predictions and will almost surely fail in our quest to "own the podium."


  2. Especially interesting are the negative consequences of "own the podium" for the Canadian team. The strict "home advantage" also means Canadian athletes were denied the opportunity to train with non-Canadain athletes on local turf. Subsequently isolated from and ill-prepared for the level of international competition...

    Neurotically shot themselves in the foot?

  3. just to add to this when the games started there was all this pressure on a female canadian athlete (you gotta help me out here, i dont follow the games) for some kind of skiing event. she ended up wining a silver, but the pressure was on for her to win gold as we never had on home turf before in that event. I remember walking to Bons for breakfast the next day and reading a headline on the paper that said, " happy with silver". now it seems to me you have to be a dang good athlete just to get to the olympics, a silver medal isnt anything to be upset about. the media had put so much pressure on this athlete (and many many others) that it almost seemed like a dissapointment. arent the games supposed to be about coming together and pushing ourselves?