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

Panel Discussion | December 5 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 820 Barrows Hall

 Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Chair, UC Berkeley Department of Political Science; Gillian Hart, Professor Emerita, UC Berkeley Department of Geography; Tianna Paschel, Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

 Social Science Matrix

Presented as part of Social Science Matrix "Authors Meet Critics" series, this panel discussion will feature Professor Wendy Brown's book In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Anti-Democratic Politics in the West, which 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.

The talk will feature Professor Brown along with two colleagues: Gillian Hart, UC Berkeley professor emerita of geography and winner of the 2018 Vega Medal from the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography; and Tianna Paschel, Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, whose research centers on analyzing the intersection of racial ideology, politics, and globalization in Latin America and the United States.

Please RSVP here to attend this event.

About the Book

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.

About the Panelists

Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches political theory. Professor Brown's fields of interest include the history of political theory, nineteenth and twentieth century Continental theory, critical theory and theories of contemporary capitalism. In recent years, her scholarship has focused on neoliberalism and the political formations to which it gives rise.Her recent books include Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution and Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She lectures around the world and has held a number of distinguished fellowships and visiting professorships, most recently at Columbia, Cornell, Birkbeck and the London School of Economics. In 2017-18 she was a Simon Guggeheim Fellow and a UC Presidents Humanities Research Fellow.

Gillian Hart, Professor Emerita, Department of Geography, UC Berkeley, is the author of such works as Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa and Rethinking the South African Crisis: Nationalism, Populism, Hegemony. She is working on a set of essays for a book on resurgent nationalisms and populist politics in South Africa, India, and the United States since the end of the Cold War. In 2018, she was awarded the Vega Medal by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography for contributions to human geography.

Tianna Paschel is Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies. Her research centers on analyzing the intersection of racial ideology, politics, and globalization in Latin America and the United States. She has published in the American Journal of Sociology, Du Bois Review, SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, and Ethnic and Racial Studies, as well as various edited volumes. She is also the author of Becoming Black Political Subjects, which won numerous awards, including the Herbert Jacob Book Award of the Law and Society Association and the Barrington Moore Book Award of the American Sociological Association.

 All Audiences

 All Audiences

  RSVP online by December 2

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