Decoding the neoliberal subjectivity in self-helping adult learners

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores and explains the subjectivity of self-helping adult learners, as depicted in contemporary, best-selling self-help books. It interrogates how those self-help texts embody particular features of self-helping subjectivity by appropriating neoliberalist perspectives on self and the world. It illuminates four salient features of the neoliberal subjectivity of self-helping adult learners: (1) rational and responsible self-management, (2) excessive self-positivity, (3) voluntary self-exploitation and (4) the loosely connected selves without solidarity. These four features of neoliberal subjectivity are intrinsically entangled with one another. Implications of the assemblage of neoliberal subjectivity for research and practice in adult learning are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 4

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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