We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Managerialism, the therapeutic habitus and the ...
View graph of relations

« Back

Managerialism, the therapeutic habitus and the self in contemporary organising.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2008
JournalHuman Relations
Journal number5
Number of pages25
Original languageEnglish


Over the last two decades, managerialism (Enteman, 1993) has become consolidated on multiple fronts. As a formula of governance, it has elaborated various vocabularies: the `audit society' (Power, 1997, 2007) has become entrenched in all types of organizations; surveillance methods (Lyon, 2001) have become increasingly dispersed and insidious; and — alongside —`new' concepts of subjectivity and the`self' are used to frame more intense regimes of self-discipline or what Tipton (1984) called `self-work'. These moves have been captured by Heelas (2002), Thrift (1997) and others in the term `soft capitalism'. In this article, we reflect upon this phenomenon by analysing some examples: `culture', `performativity', `knowledge' and `wellness'. Although they belong to a group often described as `fads' and `fashions' and dismissed as managerial `mumbo-jumbo', we suggest that their proliferation indicates a more stable cultural tendency of management discourses to capture subjectivity in its general agenda. We attempt to offer an historical-cultural interpretation from which this range of managerial concepts might be viewed. Our argument suggests that they have a certain cultural coherence that can be perhaps better glimpsed within a wider historical context. As a particular way in which managerialism frames its logic, analysing `soft capitalism' historically offers a reasonable basis for understanding the strength of its hard disciplinary edge as a regime of governance.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Human Relations, 61 (5), 2008, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2008 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Feminist Theory page: http://hum.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/

Related research outputs