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In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West

by Wendy Brown Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
06/2019
ISBN:
9780231193856
Format:
Pbk 264 pages
Price:
AU$57.99 NZ$60.86
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Across the West, hard-right leaders are surging to power on platforms of ethno-economic nationalism, Christianity, and traditional family values. Is this phenomenon the end of neoliberalism or its monstrous offspring?


 


In the Ruins of Neoliberalism casts the hard-right turn as animated by socioeconomically aggrieved white working- and middle-class populations but contoured by neoliberalism’s multipronged assault on democratic values. From its inception, neoliberalism flirted with authoritarian liberalism as it warred against robust democracy. It repelled social-justice claims through appeals to market freedom and morality. It sought to de-democratize the state, economy, and society and re-secure the patriarchal family. In key works of the founding neoliberal intellectuals, Wendy Brown traces the ambition to replace democratic orders with ones disciplined by markets and traditional morality and democratic states with technocratic ones.


 


Yet plutocracy, white supremacy, politicized mass affect, indifference to truth, and extreme social disinhibition were no part of the neoliberal vision. Brown theorizes their unintentional spurring by neoliberal reason, from its attack on the value of society and its fetish of individual freedom to its legitimation of inequality. Above all, she argues, neoliberalism’s intensification of nihilism coupled with its accidental wounding of white male supremacy generates an apocalyptic populism willing to destroy the world rather than endure a future in which this supremacy disappears.

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Society Must Be Dismantled2. Politics Must Be Dethroned3. The Personal, Protected Sphere Must Be Extended 4. Speaking Wedding Cakes and Praying Pregnancy Centers: Religious Liberty and Free Speech in Neoliberal Jurisprudence 5. No Future for White Men: Nihilism, Fatalism, and RessentimentNotesIndex

Brown attends to the perceived puzzles of neoliberalism that have baffled other analysts and solves them outright. In the Ruins of Neoliberalism offers a complete rethinking of our current political reality.
Wendy Brown (PhD, Political Philosophy, Princeton) is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone, 2015), Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (Zone, 2010), and Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Empire and Identity (Princeton, 2006) and coauthor (with Rainer Forst) of The Power of Tolerance (Columbia, 2014), among a number of other titles. Her interests include political theory, critical theory, continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, democratic theory, capitalism, and neoliberalism.