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PH348 - Genealogy and Critique of Neoliberalism: Foucault and Bataille

  • Module code: PH348
  • Module name: Genealogy and Critique of Neoliberalism: Foucault and Bataille
  • Department: Philosophy
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This module aims to... to introduce students to the thought of Foucault’s so-called middle period, to his genealogical method, and to Bataille’s own political economy; to come to an understanding of neoliberalism as the socio-economic paradigm defining our political subjectivity via a close reading of Michel Foucault's 1979 lectures at the Collège de France, The Birth of Biopolitics; to develop a genealogical critique of neoliberalism; to suggest alternative modes of subjectivation and other conceptions of the self by looking at key passages from Georges Bataille’s “The Notion of Expenditure” (in Visions of Excess) and The Accursed Share, Volume 3, translated by Robert Hurley (New York: Zone Books, 1989). By the end of the module students should have... a new set of analytical skills, as informed by Foucault’s genealogical method, and a renewed understanding of what it means to think philosophically; an ability to understand, process and engage with information, data and theories from political and economic theory from a distinctly philosophical perspective: an ability to engage critically with the current economic and political situation.

Timetabled teaching activities

In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of seminars per week.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PH348-15)
A1 (Assessed work only) 1500 word essay 15%
  2500 word essay 85%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (visiting/exchange students) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year (GV18) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy (wiith Intercalated year) (V701) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature with Intercalated Year (VQ73) - Year 2