After Neoliberalism


About the Cluster

Recent developments around the world, such as the rise of authoritarianism, the emergence of rightwing populist movements with strongly racist and xenophobic undercurrents, the migration crisis, and the turn toward greater economic protectionism, suggest that a new political conjuncture is emerging, a conjuncture that is significantly different from the neoliberal consensus that has been hegemonic around the world for over four decades. That neoliberal conjuncture, though imposed, implemented, and experienced highly unevenly around the world, generally entailed an aggressive agenda of the globalization of the market, heavy financialization, the privatization of public enterprises, IMF and World Bank-led structural adjustment programs, the curtailment of the welfare state, the rise of global inequalities, the dismantling of organized labor opposition, and, finally, the constitution of forms of highly competitive, self-interested, entrepreneurial subjectivities that Michel Foucault, building on Chicago school economists, has aptly labeled “human capital.”

Our aim in convening this research cluster is precisely to raise the question of whether we should continue our use of neoliberalism as an umbrella concept to diagnose the present. What are the criteria with which neoliberalism can still be fruitfully employed? What are the tendencies that counteract the neoliberal diagnosis and that may force us to adopt new concepts? How might a critical political lexicon of the future, one in which neoliberalism is being replaced with a new hegemonic value and practice system, look like? And, most importantly, considering how progressive social movements have been pushed into a reactive position for decades because of the organized onslaught of the neoliberal agenda, having to confine themselves to resisting the stripping of social rights, loss of welfare and other public funds, disinvestment in critical infrastructures, and what Wendy Brown has called de-democratization, can we envision coherent, progressive, alternative visions of what might come after neoliberalism?

Principal Investigators

Banu Bargu, Associate Professor of History of Consciousness
Massimiliano Tomba, Professor of History of Consciousness

Faculty and Graduate Student Participants

Fernando I. Leiva, Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies
University of California- (Letterhead for interdepartmental use)
Deborah Gould, Associate Professor of Sociology
Dean Mathiowetz, Associate Professor of Politics

Francesca Romeo, Doctoral candidate in Film & Digital Media
Patrick King, PhD Student in History of Consciousness


April 14, 2019:  Bernard Hartcourt: “The Counterrevolution Takes a New Right Turn”

March 11, 2019: Anne Norton; “Theses on Democracy or, The People, Steering”

March 4, 2019: Robert Nichols: Dilemmas of Dispossession in the Black Radical Tradition

October 26, 2018:  Sanctuary & Subjectivity Practices Workshop

October 31, 2018: Michel Feher – “Creditworthiness – The Political Stake of a Speculative Age”

October 26, 2018: Sanctuary & Subjectivity Practices Workshop

October 25, 2018: Anne McNevin –  “Time, Sanctuary and Decoloniality – Notes from Manus Island Prison”