e-Duke Books

Competing Responsibilities:

The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life

Edited by Susanna Trnka and Catherine Trundle

Noting the pervasiveness of the adoption of "responsibility" as a core ideal of neoliberal governance, the contributors to Competing Responsibilities challenge contemporary understandings and critiques of that concept in political, social, and ethical life. They reveal that neoliberalism's reification of the responsible subject masks the myriad forms of individual and collective responsibility that people engage with in their everyday lives, from accountability, self-sufficiency, and prudence to care, obligation, and culpability. The essays—which combine social theory with ethnographic research from Europe, North America, Africa, and New Zealand—address a wide range of topics, including critiques of corporate social responsibility practices; the relationships between public and private responsibilities in the context of state violence; the tension between calls on individuals and imperatives to groups to prevent the transmission of HIV; audit culture; and how health is cast as a citizenship issue. Competing Responsibilities allows for the examination of modes of responsibility that extend, challenge, or coexist with the neoliberal focus on the individual cultivation of the self. 

Contributors

Barry D. Adam, Elizabeth Anne Davis, Filippa Lentzos, Jessica Robbins-Ruszkowski, Nikolas Rose, Rosalind Shaw, Cris Shore, Jessica M. Smith, Susanna Trnka, Catherine Trundle, Jarrett Zigon

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