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Refiguring childhoodEncounters with biosocial power$
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Kevin Ryan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526148612

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526148629

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Disadvantaged childhoods and the neuroliberal fix

Disadvantaged childhoods and the neuroliberal fix

(p.108) 7 Disadvantaged childhoods and the neuroliberal fix
Refiguring childhood

Kevin Ryan

Manchester University Press

Chapter 7 examines how ‘disadvantage’ has become a pervasive way of framing inequality, tracking this from the United States during the 1960s, where the theme of cultural deprivation gave rise to a series of experiments in compensatory education, through to the present, showing how the neuroliberal figuring of disadvantage sustains neoliberal enterprise culture. To this end the chapter explores how neuroliberalism is imbricated in philanthrocapitalism and the ‘first three years’ movement, the core message being that ‘the first three years last forever’, and that as a society we either ‘pay now or pay later’. In this scenario, biosocial power aims to reduce the future costs of crime, welfare dependency and teenage pregnancy by optimising the ‘brain architecture’ of children.

Keywords:   Behavioural economics, Compensatory education, Disadvantage, Neuroliberalism, Philanthrocapitalism

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