Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution

MIT Press
3
Free sample

Tracing neoliberalism's devastating erosions of democratic principles, practices, and cultures.

Neoliberal rationality—ubiquitous today in statecraft and the workplace, in jurisprudence, education, and culture—remakes everything and everyone in the image of homo oeconomicus. What happens when this rationality transposes the constituent elements of democracy into an economic register? In Undoing the Demos, Wendy Brown explains how democracy itself is imperiled. The demos disintegrates into bits of human capital; concerns with justice bow to the mandates of growth rates, credit ratings, and investment climates; liberty submits to the imperative of human capital appreciation; equality dissolves into market competition; and popular sovereignty grows incoherent. Liberal democratic practices may not survive these transformations. Radical democratic dreams may not either.

In an original and compelling argument, Brown explains how and why neoliberal reason undoes the political form and political imaginary it falsely promises to secure and reinvigorate. Through meticulous analyses of neoliberalized law, political practices, governance, and education, she charts the new common sense. Undoing the Demos makes clear that for democracy to have a future, it must become an object of struggle and rethinking.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Chair of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also affiliated with the Department of Rhetoric and the Critical Theory Program and the author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone Books).

Read more
Collapse
4.3
3 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
MIT Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Feb 13, 2015
Read more
Collapse
Pages
296
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781935408703
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / Political Economy
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
A prize-winning examination of why nation-states wall themselves off despite widespread proclamations of global connectedness.

Why do walls marking national boundaries proliferate amid widespread proclamations of global connectedness and despite anticipation of a world without borders? Why are barricades built of concrete, steel, and barbed wire when threats to the nation today are so often miniaturized, vaporous, clandestine, dispersed, or networked?

In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, Wendy Brown considers the recent spate of wall building in contrast to the erosion of nation-state sovereignty. Drawing on classical and contemporary political theories of state sovereignty in order to understand how state power and national identity persist amid its decline, Brown considers both the need of the state for legitimacy and the popular desires that incite the contemporary building of walls. The new walls—dividing Texas from Mexico, Israel from Palestine, South Africa from Zimbabwe—consecrate the broken boundaries they would seem to contest and signify the ungovernability of a range of forces unleashed by globalization. Yet these same walls often amount to little more than theatrical props, frequently breached, and blur the distinction between law and lawlessness that they are intended to represent. But if today's walls fail to resolve the conflicts between globalization and national identity, they nonetheless project a stark image of sovereign power. Walls, Brown argues, address human desires for containment and protection in a world increasingly without these provisions. Walls respond to the wish for horizons even as horizons are vanquished.

Amongst intellectuals and activists, neoliberalism has become a potent signifier for the kind of free-market thinking that has dominated politics for the past three decades. Forever associated with the conviction politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the free-market project has since become synonymous with the 'Washington consensus' on international development policy and the phenomenon of corporate globalization, where it has come to mean privatization, deregulation, and the opening up of new markets. But beyond its utility as a protest slogan or buzzword as shorthand for the political-economic Zeitgeist, what do we know about where neoliberalism came from and how it spread? Who are the neoliberals, and why do they studiously avoid the label? Constructions of Neoliberal Reason presents a radical critique of the free-market project, from its origins in the first half of the 20th Century through to the recent global economic crisis, from the utopian dreams of Friedrich von Hayek through the dogmatic theories of the Chicago School to the hope and hubris of Obamanomics. The book traces how neoliberalism went from crank science to common sense in the period between the Great Depression and the age of Obama. Constructions of Neoliberal Reason dramatizes the rise of neoliberalism and its uneven spread as an intellectual, political, and cultural project, combining genealogical analysis with situated case studies of formative moments throughout the world, like New York City's bankruptcy, Hurricane Katrina, and the Wall Street crisis of 2008. The book names and tracks some of neoliberalism's key protagonists, as well as some of the less visible bit-part players. It explores how this adaptive regime of market rule was produced and reproduced, its logics and limits, its faults and its fate.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.