Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution

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MIT Press, Feb 13, 2015 - Political Science - 296 pages

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.

 

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User Review  - trishrobertsmiller - LibraryThing

The part about sacrifice at the end was weak, but otherwise the book was fascinating. Read full review

Contents

Preface
9
Neoliberal Reason and Political Life
15
Undoing Democracy Neoliberalisms Remaking of State and Subject
17
Foucaults Birth of Biolopolitics Lectures Charting Neoliberal Political Rationality
47
Revising Foucault Homo Politicus and Homo Oeconomicus
79
Disseminating Neoliberal Reason
113
Political Rationality and Governance
115
Law and Legal Reason
151
Educating Human Capital
175
Losing Bare Democracy and the Inversion of Freedom into Sacrifice
201
Notes
223
Index
281
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About the author (2015)

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).

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