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Democracy's InfrastructureTechno-Politics and Protest after Apartheid$
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Antina von Schnitzler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170770

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170770.001.0001

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The “Discipline of Freedom”

The “Discipline of Freedom”

Neoliberalism, Translation, and Techno-Politics after the 1976 Soweto Uprising

(p.31) Chapter 2 The “Discipline of Freedom”
Democracy's Infrastructure

Antina von Schnitzler

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the beginnings of a specifically neoliberal techno-politics in South Africa within the context of conceptual and practical responses to the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Drawing on archival research and interviews with apartheid-era economists and functionaries, the chapter examines the political styles of reasoning that emerged as neoliberal thought was appropriated by the state and private organizations in response to the systemic crises of the 1970s. It also considers the move away from the macro-techniques of grand apartheid and toward more micro-political techniques at the level of the administrative and the technical. It shows that this late-apartheid techno-politics, and the neoliberal archive that often inspired it, gave rise to a form of counterinsurgency mediated by infrastructure and administrative techniques. Finally, it explains how, in post-1976 South Africa, neoliberalism emerged as a series of adaptable concepts and techniques that built upon and often worked through preexisting contexts.

Keywords:   techno-politics, South Africa, Soweto Uprising, apartheid, counterinsurgency, infrastructure, neoliberalism

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