Ricardo's discursive demarcations
A Foucauldian study of the formation of the economy as an object of knowledge
Keywords:David Ricardo, political economy, objects of knowledge, Michel Foucault, discursive demarcations, markets, governmentality
Set against previous attempts to grasp the work of British political economist David Ricardo on a theoretical and methodological level, this article explores the emergence of the 'economy' in Ricardo's Principles of political economy and taxation (1817) from a Foucault-inspired perspective on the formation of objects of knowledge. Several distinctions (or 'discursive demarcations') are brought to the fore with which Ricardo sought to determine the boundaries of political economy, such as that between natural economic processes and artificial interventions; between long-term and short-term trends; or between different kinds of conflict. Taken together, the discursive demarcations examined in this article contribute to the formation of the 'economy' as an object of knowledge, make specific theories possible, and enable the use of a particular method.