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Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution

by Wendy Brown Zone Books
Pub Date:
09/2017
ISBN:
9781935408543
Format:
Pbk 296 pages
Price:
AU$49.99 NZ$52.17
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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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.


 

Draws important empirical and analytical connections between Foucault's analytical approach to governmentality and a complementary Marxist critique of the material inequality that follows from neoliberal market reforms…[and] shows how such developments are reinforced by widespread acceptance of the concept of human capital.

'Foucault Studies
Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of  Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (Zone Books).