Floris Visser: Motivationalism


Advisor/tutor: Bassam el Baroni
Arnhem, June 2018


This thesis aims to look at the construction of subjectivities in societies of control. It adopts the term "motivationalism" to describe the ramifications of contemporary self-optimization as a socio-economic construct. The apparatus of self-optimization, having replaced disciplinary technologies of power, synthesizes psychology, entrepreneurialism and spirituality to activate people into cultivating a mental dexterity to turn systemic calamity into personal challenge. Situating the advent of motivationalism in management culture, the thesis further tracks its premises of antirationality, ontopolitics, human capital, spirit and self-knowledge in order to conclude with the argument that it is amidst these forces, rather than against, that personal development needs to be rethought. By drawing on parametric ideology and a redefinition of reason, this thesis aims to suggest motivationalism differently.