Evaluative playgrounds Audit and government after neoliberalism

Evaluative playgrounds

Audit and government after neoliberalism

Dr. Will Davies

Assistant Professor, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
4-5.30pm, Monday 11th February
Cowling Room, S2.77, Social Sciences Building

Neoliberalism depends on forms of audit and government, through which activity can be subjected to independent economic evaluation and critique. The epistemological crisis of neoliberalism consists of the collapse of the distance between auditor and audited, model and reality, in which the claims to ‘objectivity’ on the part of the evaluators are no longer tenable. But what can or might succeed this type of auditory or governmental gaze? This paper uses metaphors of ‘play’ to understand different ways in which relationships of judgement can be organised. It proposes the idea of the ‘playground’ – spaces in which agents freely assemble and interact, but have their behaviour constantly assessed for its sustainability – as a formal model for emerging modes of government. Emerging approaches to financial and behavioural regulation (such as macro-prudential regulation and happiness education) recognise the role of values and valuations within socio-economic systems; but they add a judgement as to how these values and valuations are affecting the system as a whole.

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