Tales of neoliberalism’s death are serially overstated. Following the financial crisis of 2008, neoliberalism was proclaimed a “zombie,” a disgraced ideology that staggered on like an undead monster. After the political ruptures of 2016, commentators were quick to announce “the end” of neoliberalism yet again, pointing to both the global rise of far-right forces and the reinvigoration of democratic socialist politics. But do new political forces sound neoliberalism’s death knell or will they instead catalyze new mutations in its dynamic development?
Mutant Neoliberalism brings together leading scholars of neoliberalism—political theorists, historians, philosophers, anthropologists and sociologists—to rethink transformations in market rule and their relation to ongoing political ruptures. The chapters show how years of neoliberal governance, policy, and depoliticization created the conditions for thriving reactionary forces, while also reflecting on whether recent trends will challenge, reconfigure, or extend neoliberalism’s reach. The contributors reconsider neoliberalism’s relationship with its assumed adversaries and map mutations in financialized capitalism and governance across time and space—from Europe and the United States to China and India. Taken together, the volume recasts the stakes of contemporary debate and reorients critique and resistance within a rapidly changing landscape.
Contributors: Étienne Balibar, Sören Brandes, Wendy Brown, Melinda Cooper, Julia Elyachar, Michel Feher, Megan Moodie, Christopher Newfield, Dieter Plehwe, Lisa Rofel, Leslie Salzinger, Quinn Slobodian
Introduction: Theorizing Mutant Neoliberalism | 1
William Callison and Zachary Manfredi
1. Neoliberalism’s Scorpion Tail | 39
2. The Market’s People: Milton Friedman and the Making of Neoliberal Populism | 61
3. Neoliberals against Europe | 89
Quinn Slobodian and Dieter Plehwe
4. Anti-Austerity on the Far Right | 112
5. Disposing of the Discredited: A European Project | 146
6. Neoliberalism, Rationality, and the Savage Slot | 177
7. Sexing Homo OEconomicus: Finding Masculinity at Work | 196
8. Feminist Theory Redux: Neoliberalism’s Public-Private Divide | 215
Megan Moodie and Lisa Rofel
9. “Innovation” Discourse and the Neoliberal University: Top Ten Reasons to Abolish Disruptive Innovation | 244
10. Absolute Capitalism | 269
List of Contributors | 291
Index | 295
Neoliberalism has frequently been pronounced dead in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but the beast lives on. This collection is a strong addition to recent studies of the topic, exploring neoliberalism’s relationships with the EU, the far right, populism, and gender.
Doug Henwood, Producer of Behind the News
This is the book we need today. The authors refuse to debate about what liberalism ‘is’ and instead take us into the thicket of its fracturing and multiple futures in the wake of the great financial crisis.
Elizabeth Povinelli, Columbia University