“Neoliberalism” has become the name for mainstream political economy since 1990: a characterization used by many of this economy’s detractors and sometimes by its proponents. In their work, Wendy Brown and Verónica Gago encourage us to go beyond this popularized understanding, in which neoliberalism is reduced to an economic doctrine of deregulation and austerity. Brown and Gago’s work focuses on the neoliberal regimes’ political implications for the “demos” or democracy. This conversation will engage with neoliberalism in a global frame. Gago’s work focuses on Latin America and draws on a Deleuzian framework, while Brown’s focuses on the Euro-Atlantic world and is informed by a Foucauldian perspective. Taken together, Brown and Gago’s approaches reveal how neoliberalism tends to undo established forms of democratic functioning and organizing from above, while also opening up new democratic spaces and allowing for the emergence of a popular anti-neoliberalism from below.
Verónica Gago, Professor, Instituto de Altos Estudios, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina and Universidad de Buenos Aires, Visiting Scholar, International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs, teaches Political Science at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and is Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Altos Estudios, Universidad Nacional de San Martín. She is also Assistant Researcher at the National Council of Research (CONICET). Gago is the author of Neoliberalism from Below: Popular Pragmatics and Baroque Economies (Tinta Limón 2014, Duke University Press, 2017) and of numerous articles published in journals and books throughout Latin America, Europe and the US. She is a member of the independent radical collective press Tinta Limón. She was part of the militant research experience Colectivo Situaciones, and she is now a member of Ni Una Menos.
Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley, works on the history of political theory, nineteenth and twentieth century Continental theory, critical theory and theories of contemporary capitalism. She is best known for intertwining the insights of Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, Frankfurt School theorists, Foucault, and contemporary Continental philosophers to critically interrogate formations of power, political identity, citizenship, and political subjectivity in contemporary liberal democracies. In recent years, her scholarship has focused on neoliberalism and the political formations to which it gives rise.
Co-sponsored by the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.