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Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics download epub

by Jodi Dean


Epub Book: 1357 kb. | Fb2 Book: 1111 kb.

Jodi Dean herself refers frequently to the 'academic and typing left' and this is presumably her target audience. In the chapter entitled Free Trade, Dean considers 'The Neoliberal Fantasy' and the all pervading sense that 'there is no alternative'

Jodi Dean herself refers frequently to the 'academic and typing left' and this is presumably her target audience. Largely based on Lacan, Marx, Lacanian Marxism and, inevitably, Slavoj Zizek, she divides the book into six chapters: Technology, Free Trade, Democracy, Resolve, Ethics and Certainty. In the chapter entitled Free Trade, Dean considers 'The Neoliberal Fantasy' and the all pervading sense that 'there is no alternative'. Much of her argument here is reminiscent of Thomas Frank's 'The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule' but also calls upon David Harvey, Foucault and Zizek (his re-working of Lacanian 'jouissance') amongst others.

Jodi Dean teaches political and media theory in Geneva, New York.

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States.

On Oct 1, 2013, Lucy Welsh and others published Jodi Dean: Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

Download Citation On Oct 1, 2013, Lucy Welsh and others published Jodi Dean: Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies. It appears to be neither distinctive nor new, leaning to the right rather than the centre or centre-left, and having some roots in the New Poor Law and the mixed economy of welfare of Beveridge.

Jodi Dean acknowledges that the work began as a series of replies to particular political problems of the George .

Jodi Dean acknowledges that the work began as a series of replies to particular political problems of the George W. Bush administration, which were the subject of separate publication or presentation. Neoliberalism’s rise to popularity is often attributed to the various global financial crises of the late 1970s and early 1980s (Harvey 2005), in combination with a feeling that the social democratic era of government had failed to deliver on promises of equality and financial stability (Lowe 1999). In this context, neoliberals took an opportunity to undermine a failing and vulnerable social democratic ideology.

Books related to Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies.

series e-Duke books scholarly collection. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals. Books related to Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies.

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The second chapter, entitled 'Free trade: The neoliberal fantasy', probes the way neoliberalism produces inversions in the subject positions of leftist political practices. Drawing on a Zizekian reading of Lacan's psychoanalysis, Dean delineates the construction of the fantasy of free trade through the neoliberal ideology. She recovers the ideas of Zizek in a productive fashion.

Similar books and articles. Jodi Dean: Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies. Leslie Regan Shade - 2003 - Ethics and Information Technology 5 (2):129-130. Under Consideration: Jodi Dean's Feminism and the New Democracy: Resiting the Political). A. J. Norval - 1998 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 24:127-132. Jodi Dean - 2000 - Hypatia 15 (3):187-189.

Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying contemporary political culture, Jodi Dean takes the left to task for its capitulations to conservatives and its failure to take responsibility for the extensive neoliberalization implemented during the Clinton presidency. She argues that the left’s ability to develop and defend a collective vision of equality and solidarity has been undermined by the ascendance of “communicative capitalism,” a constellation of consumerism, the privileging of the self over group interests, and the embrace of the language of victimization. As Dean explains, communicative capitalism is enabled and exacerbated by the Web and other networked communications media, which reduce political energies to the registration of opinion and the transmission of feelings. The result is a psychotic politics where certainty displaces credibility and the circulation of intense feeling trumps the exchange of reason.

Dean’s critique ranges from her argument that the term democracy has become a meaningless cipher invoked by the left and right alike to an analysis of the fantasy of free trade underlying neoliberalism, and from an examination of new theories of sovereignty advanced by politicians and left academics to a look at the changing meanings of “evil” in the speeches of U.S. presidents since the mid-twentieth century. She emphasizes the futility of a politics enacted by individuals determined not to offend anyone, and she examines questions of truth, knowledge, and power in relation to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals.


Comments: (2)

Rasmus
Just read the classic socialist texts first. It was a good book but do you understand the concept of "the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie" okay there you go. If you're a revisionist you'll probably like it more. Basically if you're ML and you're looking for something then read it, or if you're a reformed liberal who's not quite a socialist read it.
Doukree
This is an interesting, albeit rather academic, book. Jodi Dean herself refers frequently to the 'academic and typing left' and this is presumably her target audience. Largely based on Lacan, Marx, Lacanian Marxism and, inevitably, Slavoj Zizek, she divides the book into six chapters: Technology, Free Trade, Democracy, Resolve, Ethics and Certainty. At the end, unlike many left commentators, she does not feel obliged to finish on an optimistic note, even given the current travails of global capitalism, and this adds to the credibility of the work.

Saying all that, some chapters are mainly discussions and critiques of particular thinkers. So, the chapter on democracy is largely a critique of Gutman and Thompson's ideas on 'deliberative democracy', while the chapter on Ethics engages with the works of Judith Butler. All well and good if you are familiar with these ideas, but pretty heavy going otherwise.

Still, there are some interesting ideas here. Starting with Technology, she outlines the concept of 'Communicative Capitalism':

'The proliferation, distribution, acceleration, and intensification of communicative access and opportunity result in a deadlocked democracy incapable of serving as a form for political change. I refer to this democracy that talks without responding as communicative capitalism.' (P22)

It appears that there is intensive debate happening all the time - blogs, web sites, e-mails etc. etc. etc. but no-one is actually debating, everyone is simply talking but not responding. In the end, these isolated individuals (themselves a result of the extreme individualism of neoliberalism) may be ignored. In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq:

'Bush acknowledged the massive worldwide demonstrations...He even reiterated the fact that a message was out there: the protesters had a right to express their opinions. [But] He didn't treat the words and actions of the protesters as sending a message to him that he was in some sense obliged to answer. Rather, he acknowledged the existence of views different to his own.' (P20)

In other words, he took advantage of the prevailing 'post modernist' propensity for acceptance of multiple viewpoints and used it as an excuse to dismiss views not concurrent with his own. There is, as Dean says, 'a significant disconnect between politics circulating as content and official politics.' (P21)

In the chapter entitled Free Trade, Dean considers 'The Neoliberal Fantasy' and the all pervading sense that 'there is no alternative'. Much of her argument here is reminiscent of Thomas Frank's 'The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule' but also calls upon David Harvey, Foucault and Zizek (his re-working of Lacanian 'jouissance') amongst others. The breakdown of (self-)discipline and the imposition, in its place, of control is mirrored by the atomisation of communities and the role of evangelical Christianity in providing alternatives, supporting neoliberalism:

'[The churches]...attempt both to fill gaps produced through neoliberal capitalism (the financial insecurities brought about by job loss and the social insecurities occasioned by the absence of community) and to respond by repurposing the lessons of advertising, marketing and public relations. An element of the reassurance provided by many...is the promise of material abundance integrated into the spiritual message.' (P60)

And, coupled with this spiritual backing, neoliberalism promotes the fantasy that we are all winners. If you are not (yet) a winner, then the market is not yet fully free and so the system must be further strengthen/liberated.

This analysis is backed up with reference to Zizek's reading of Lacan and Lacan's concept of 'jouissance', including an interesting discussion of the 'decline of symbolic efficiency'. Dean suggests that this decline is linked to the move from a 'disciplinary society' to a 'society of control'. The breakdown of social institutions such as nuclear families, unions, schools, neighbourhoods means that no-one has a 'place' any more, no 'fixed' identity, and so control must be exerted from outside. Although dressed in psychoanalytic language, this does at times sound reminiscent of Critical Theory and, indeed, there are also references to Jurgen Habermass.

This breakdown is further explored, but from a rather different angle, in the final chapter 'Certainty'. This is mainly concerned with the proliferation of conspiracy theories; particularly those centred around 9/11. Dean analyses these with reference to various forms of discourse. Many of the conspiracy theories are based on a strange mixture of certainty and scepticism - certainty of their interpretation of the facts, scepticism and lack of belief in the 'official' story:

'This combination of certainty and scepticism takes the form of the discourse of the university. We saw in chapter 3 [Democracy] that in university discourse the facts speak for themselves. Experts claim objectivity even as they attempt to overlook the institutional power that supports their claims to expertise. Scientific socialism, the press, and economics are all instances of university discourse. Each emphasises facts...Purporting to let the facts speak for themselves, the 9/11 truth movement is structured in accordance with university discourse. Yet it lacks its authorising support...Accordingly, I view the movement for 9/11 truth as a clone of university discourse, a psychotic clone.' (P151)

It is an interesting, if rather arcane, approach. Overall, then, the book is a detailed and highly critical view of the failures of left discourse in the face of an all-triumphing neoliberalism. It is a largely academic text, requiring a fairly specialised level of knowledge on behalf of the reader. It is a challenging, thought-provoking but at times rather abstruse analysis, especially for the general reader (i.e. me.) Helpfully, though, there is an extensive bibliography. O.k. - you have been warned. :-)
Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics download epub
Social Sciences
Author: Jodi Dean
ISBN: 0822345056
Category: Other
Subcategory: Social Sciences
Language: English
Publisher: Duke University Press (September 2, 2009)
Pages: 232 pages