The Reproduction of Compliant Labour Power Through (Re)Constitution of the Child and Adult Subject


critical knowledge work
neoliberal labour market
reconstitution of the subject


As Althusser made clear: “the reproduction of labour power requires not only a reproduction of its skills, but also, at the same time, a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order” (Althusser, 1971. pp. 127-128). In this paper, we describe and discuss critical knowledge-work intended to illuminate governmentality which is accomplished through (re)constitution of the subject. In particular we point to societal interconnections responsible for the (re)constitution of the compliant productive neoliberal subject in the context of the needs of neoliberal capitalist employers and the State to reproduce the means of production. We focus, in particular, on reproduction of labour power in the form of children who have been subjectively reconstituted to be compliant with the ‘rules’ of ‘good behaviour’ which discipline ‘educational’ settings but which is preparation for compliant neoliberal labour market ‘participation’ and on unemployed adults who are subjectively reconstituted as compliant subjects required by the neoliberal labour market through ‘labour market activation’, the contemporary preoccupation of neoliberal governments around the world.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.