Youth policy, neoliberalism and transnational governmentality: a case study of Lesotho and Malawi

Nicola Ansell, Flora Hajdu, Elsbeth Robson, Lorraine Van Blerk and Elodie Marandet

in Critical Geographies of Childhood and Youth

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428462
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447307259 | DOI:
Youth policy, neoliberalism and transnational governmentality: a case study of Lesotho and Malawi

Show Summary Details


Over the past few decades governments worldwide have developed youth policies, encompassing diverse measures to address the problems and potentials of their younger populations. These policies have not emerged independently in diverse countries; intergovernmental organisations and international discourses are involved. In this chapter we use Foucault's concepts of governmentality and biopower to analyse a UNESCO (2004) publication designed to guide youth policy development, and the recently formulated youth policies of Malawi and Lesotho. We examine how youth policies perform as technologies of power, enabling states to exercise control over individuals and populations; and how such technologies produce individual subjects that are valuable to neoliberal economies. More significantly, we investigate whether youth policies represent a form of transnational governmentality through which the agendas of global capital contribute to the production of neoliberal subjects for a globalising market. We show that while this is, to an extent, true, the transnational exercise of power is far from all-encompassing, and we conclude by emphasising the unevenness and incompleteness of the exercise of neoliberalising power through youth policies in these two countries.

Keywords: Biopower; Governmentality; Lesotho; Malawi; International Organisations; Neoliberalism; Technologies of power; Transnational

Chapter.  6555 words. 

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.