Power Relations through the Market: A Foucauldian Critique of the Competition Law in Iran

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In Foucault’s narrative, neoliberalism is a rationale to delimit government power through certain actions called governmentalisation. This does not mean that individuals are exposed to a despotic state, but a government that warrants laissez-faire and controls through liberty. Central to this act of government is the market in which individuals can freely transact, provided that their conducts comply with the determined disciplines. Governmentality highlights that competition in the market preserves and protects individuals’ interests. However, governmentalisation in developing countries is encapsulated in the concept of good governance. In this case, these governments are encouraged to privatise state-owned enterprises to guarantee a free market while casting off ambitious welfare projects. Iran’s government implemented pseudo neoliberal policies to purportedly unlock the market, while the government is disinclined to lose its authority. This article considers Foucault’s view on governmentality to indicate how Iran’s government governmentalised the market and used competition law to maintain market power. It is argued that Iran’s act of government was a failed project in terms of providing individuals’ freedom while it strengthened well-connected firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalGriffith Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2023


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