Performativity of the Subject: Women and Neoliberal Governmentality in Croatia

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Matko Krce-Ivancic


The thesis examines the effects of neoliberalism on women in Croatian society by exploring contemporary, neoliberal subjectivity. In order to grasp the novelty of neoliberalism, this project critically engages with Foucault's understanding of neoliberalism and governmentality, in addition to the themes from Laclau's theory of discourse, poststructuralist theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis. By mapping neoliberal discourse in Croatia, this research examines the performativity of gendered neoliberal subjectivity. Following Laclau's definition of discourse as 'nothing which in a narrow sense relates to texts but the ensemble of phenomena of the societal production of meaning on which a society as such is based', the analysis is extended by interviewing women of differing socio-economic status and exploring their experiences of neoliberal discourse. Examining the opinions of participants on feminism in Croatia, their experiences of stress and fear in neoliberal context and, finally, their perception of the neoliberal imperative of activity, the project demonstrates that neoliberal discourse, at certain times, favours emphasising a gendered identity, but quite often the performativity of neoliberalism supresses our gendered identification. The thesis invites us to think gender in its full complexity as it demonstrates that there is no simple categorisation or conclusion when it comes to the relation of gender and neoliberal governmentality, thus portraying an ambivalent role that gender occupies in neoliberal discourse. While relying on the interviews, the project provides an insight into the process that contributes to establishing our contemporary subjectivity. Finally, the research makes it explicit that neoliberal discourse acts as the contemporary social link, thus showing that we are nowadays bounded by maintaining neoliberal values, thereby structuring a particular form of society.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2019