Matthias Bohlender

Povertà, lavoro e società civile. Il governo dei poveri nell'epoca della ricchezza delle nazioni

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The author examines two different problematizations of governing the poor in England between the end of the XVII and the early XIX century. He analyzes the transition from an art of government focussed on coercive labour and on the practice of setting the poor to work (Locke), to a new kind of "objectification" and "government", called the liberal political rationality. This new rationality of governing the poor emerged as a critique of the coercive and slave-labour regime in the XVIII century (Adam Smith) and developed a new programme of liberty, productivity and civil society, centered around the social regime of free wage-labour. The formation of political economy as a new science of governing the socio-economic space, the enactment of a new law about the poor are further steps in lining up and strengthening a rationality which has been part of our "govern mentality" (Foucault) ever since.

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