“Let's Light this Candle”? Early Online Investment and the Regulation of Freedom in “New” Work Forms
Drawing on Foucauldian governmentality studies, this article follows the contested construction of the early online investor. First, it explores the contingency of the investor's imagined freedom, as an expression of neoliberal and informationalist prescriptions of personhood. But it
also explores the complexity and multiplicity with which that freedom was structured—especially in countervailing “intermediate-level” regulation, oriented as much toward protecting a vulnerable client as toward liberating an information-savvy sovereign consumer. In complicating
the investor's freedom, and in clarifying its limits, struggles over online investment offer an instructive model for evaluating the ambivalence of self-entrepreneurial work.