Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Paperback)
Prepare yourself for a heavy read and a nuanced take on neoliberalism as a tool to remake humans into the image of homo oeconomicus. Wendy Brown’s compelling argument brings to light an image of a demos reduced to growth rates, investment climates and credit ratings. Critical of the future of democracy under neoliberal rationality, Brown makes a case for a new common sense. Trust me on this one — you’ll come away with thoughts that don’t leave.— From Alex C.
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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A prize-winning examination of why nation-states wall themselves off despite widespread proclamations of global connectedness.