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Sexing Homo OEconomicus: Finding Masculinity at Work


The chapter argues that neoliberal capitalism’s operations are premised upon masculinity’s persistent and persistently naturalized presence. The argument is made through three accounts. In the first case, the purportedly ungendered figure of homo œconomicus obscures the social context that enables his economic functioning and hence keeps the question of reproductive labor from coming into view. In the second case, masculine challenges and displays both undergird and fuel the operations of foreign exchange markets. And in the third, anxieties over “irrational exuberance” are projected onto the male body, sidelining discussions of institutional and regulatory failures. Together, these accounts illustrate some of the many ways that the unacknowledged gendering of the paradigmatic figure of neoliberal reason obscures the social context of the economy itself. Masculinity’s unmarked form proves to be an ideal partner for neoliberalism’s truly anti-social project.

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