Neoliberalism, healthism and moral judgements: a psychosocial approach to class

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This article explore how a psychosocial approach to class can shed light on the ways in which neoliberal governmentality works through moral judgments and how different emotions within a “regime of judgments” are rooted in class relations.
I work on two tracks: firstly, to synthesize health sociological arguments about the risk logic of healthism and theories about neoliberal imperatives of moral value display in order to build up a theoretical framework on a key feature of neoliberalism: the field of moral judgments.
Secondly, using psychosocially oriented class theories, that address morality and respectability as key features of class I then illustrate the theoretical points through two empirical cases consisting of two very different mothers, involved in their six-year-old children's start in the final preschool class. I show how for the privileged middle class mother, judging is associated with a feeling of entitlement and moral superiority while the less privileged mother seems to feel a judgmental gaze, and is thus uncomfortable and nervous in relation to moral judgments of respectability.
The article concludes that the psychosocial potential lies in exploring both how class morals currently shape subjectivity and how the emotional implications of this are drivers of the ways in which neoliberal governmentality rely on moral judgments related to healthism, risk and responsibilisation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psycho-Social Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: "This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Journal of Psycho-Social Studies. The definitive publisher-authenticated version 'Neoliberalism, healthism and moral judgements: a psychosocial approach to class
Aamann, I. C., 28 okt. 2020, I : Journal of Psycho-Social Studies. 13, 3, s. 319-332' is available online at:"


  • Neoliberalism
  • moral judgments
  • mothering
  • respectability
  • risk
  • Class

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