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This volume brings together well-versed authors from four continents to critically discuss the roots of neoliberalism and how academics use the word today. Neoliberalism has recently recycled and mutated towards new forms of radicalization where fear plays a leading role legitimating policies, which would otherwise be overtly neglected by citizens. The authors ignite a new discussion within social sciences, combining the advances of sociology, history, anthropology, communication and the theory of mobilities to understand the different faces and guises of neoliberalism.



Chapter 1. Introduction: The Multiple Janus Faces of Neoliberalism

This introduction is designed in three parts, in which the main idea is to schematize the content of the book and give a propaedeutic account about neoliberalism. The first part is focused on neoliberalism’s “traditional” key social and theoretical practices, the second part opens a conceptual description of neoliberalism, and the third has as its goal the summarization of the book chapters showing their inter-relationships. In the first part, the central goal is to summarize some of the well-known features of “traditional” neoliberalism, such as its economic approach and political regimen. “Towards a Conceptual Description” is the second part. From mass media and social networks to the academic context, there are different and countless definitions of neoliberalism, and, only as a first approximation, we analyze here a few conceptual approaches as a springboard for our systematics reflections. The third part of this introduction, “Book Content: Connections”, describes how we have divided the book into two parts that interact, but can also be considered as two alternative ways of reading: one that provides some basic axes for the discussion of the main theoretical components of neoliberalism, and the other that is structured around central issues of what we can call “living-the-neoliberalism”.

Adrian Scribano

Theoretical Tools to Understand Neoliberalism


Chapter 2. Neoliberalism and Crisis of the Republican Pact

Neoliberal thinking has a problematic relationship with the classical liberal tradition that essentially aims at the empowerment of institutions and individuals in their ability to make decisions that are guided by their own personal interests. In proposing the autonomization of economic and financial activities in relation to social issues, and in relation to the regulatory role of national states, neoliberalism destroys the foundations of classical liberalism. This practice compromises the project of emancipation of modern societies that was the objective of the liberal theses. The fragility of the peripheral states is accentuated by the weaknesses of the national and popular pacts on the one hand, and by the anti-democratic practices of the oligarchic elites, on the other. In this perspective, neoliberalism departs from classical liberal doctrine revealing its strategic importance as the ideological basis of the new transnational oligarchies. The new oligarchic ambitions are utilitarian, anti-republican and anti-democratic, distancing themselves from the liberal ideas inspiring national republican pacts and approaching totalitarian ideas.

Paulo Henrique Martins

Chapter 3. Neoliberalization and New Commodification Frontiers: A Global Critique of Progressive Reason

In the following pages we aim at providing an alternative definition for neoliberalism that essentially considers it as a new frontier of the historical-geological process of becoming the capital of the world. This phase has the distinctive feature of assuming a new unconventional exploitation era, or, based on Ruy Mauro Marini’s thoughts, a super-exploitation globalization era.In order to construct and substantiate said characterization, we depart from a superficial review of some of the main definitions provided for neoliberalism in recent critical literature so that we can subsequently provide our own concept of neoliberalism, regarding the accumulation model that exacerbates global exploitation on the basis of the restructuring of a Global South marked by the twofold confiscation/predation of primary vital energy—Earth/territories—and social energy—body/work. Lastly, we shall emphasize, at the end of this critical reflection exercise, a current dimension of the neoliberalization process that connects progressive discourse with a new expansive and global rearrangement of extraction of “ideological surplus value” (Ludovico Silva).

Horacio Machado Aráoz, Pedro Lisdero

Chapter 4. Neoliberalism in the Culture of Terror

One of the most troubling aspects of neoliberalism is that paradoxically though it is widely used and cited in the different studies, books, and dissertation in social sciences, little is known respecting its nature. This is the reason why the present chapter theorizes on neoliberalism, its different meanings, as well as its ideological core. Today’s neoliberalism coincides with something else than the need to adopt free trade globally to curb social conflict. It traverses many other fields that are confronting neorealism. I dissect, here, not only the evolution of liberal mind through different authors and authoritative voices, but also how 9/11 and an imposed culture of fear gradually undermined the democratic institutions in the United States and Europe.

Maximiliano E. Korstanje

Chapter 5. The Thousand Faces of Neoliberalism: From Politics to Sensibilities

Neoliberalism has died. Long live neoliberalism! The central objective of this chapter is to show that neoliberalism as a political regime has ended and that it has metamorphosed as a pillar of the politics of the sensibilities of the current political economy of morality.To achieve this goal, we select the following argumentative strategy. First we will review the contributions of Foucault, Bourdieu, and Harvey looking for some theoretical clues to understand neoliberalism through the lens of sensibilities; second, we will synthesize an epistemic critique of the central contents of neoliberalism; third, we will summarize a periodization of the phases of neoliberalism from the 1940s to the present; fourth, we will explore “the thousand faces” of neoliberalism; and finally, we will present the constitution of democracy for consumption and the subsidized citizen as the basic components of neoliberalism as a policy of sensibilities.

Adrian Scribano

Chapter 6. Neo-Liberal Effects on Time Perception: When “Time Is Money” Turns into “Hybrid Time”

This chapter presents the effects of neo-liberalist fundamentals on time perceptions. These concepts emphasize the importance of competition on the open market, economic growth, and development, in addition to efficient apportionment of resources and minimal government intervention in economic and social matters. Thus, they subordinate all aspects of life to market logic and also influence the temporal perceptions of both individuals and organizations. For example, it is possible to identify neo-liberal patterns in attempts to (a) effectively manage time; (b) shape and control the future; (c) restrict spontaneous time; and (d) develop squeezed time and speeded-up time. It is also possible to identify how neo-liberalism leads to the development of hybrid time, which links various cultural components and results in a blurring of these components, including (a) synchronic and polychromic time; (b) flexible time; (c) real time and timeless time; and (d) time for a break.

Mira Moshe

Central Issues of “Living-the-Neoliberalism”


Chapter 7. Implosion of Time: Body, Emotions, and Terror in the Neoliberal Civilization in Chile

This work focuses on lived experience during the development of Chilean neoliberalism at the end of twentieth century. It first describes its origins, derived from the experiment carried out by the civic-military regime in Chile since 1975, which would mature in the 1990s with the Concertación Government. Time is imagined as a production of meaning from the body based on an emotion, fear, and on a specific type, terror, in two different contexts. Research about different aspects of time by Heidegger, Husserl, Bloch, Hartog, Safransky, and Carr—and about terror, body, and emotions by Korstanje, Scribano, Feierstein, Bauman, and so on—is theoretically projected onto this particular, abovementioned, context, showing that they are configured as remembrance and protention, diverse scales of a time paralysing the construction of a socio-political human being, according to illustrated precepts, where the way in which the body acts and disciplines the course of the past, present, and future emotionally closes other possible options for autonomous production, imposing risk as a structure of freedom and happiness.

Freddy Timmermann Lopez

Chapter 8. The Neoliberal Tourism System: Strategies of Production and Distribution of Travel

Tourism is one of the most representative social phenomena of our age, not only because it combines economic, symbolic, and relational aspects but, above all, because the possibilities it offers for the analysis of changes in cultural practices and lifestyles of a very large part of the population that has within its reach this form of spatial mobility associated with leisure. In order to understand the travel industry, attention must be paid to the production and distribution of tourism products and services. The digital technology revolution has radically transformed the global consumer society, and particularly tourism industry, which has taken on a set of models of consumption couched in an attractive and revolutionary rhetoric but that also, in terms of trade and labor, contribute to a system of neoliberal economic activity. In the following pages, I shall analyze the ins and outs of this tourism system characterized, among other things, by the disaggregation of services, the management of revenues, and hyper-segmentation, within a context of an increasingly less conventional mass consumption. The growing gap between premium and low-cost customers, as a social trend, anticipates a scenario of total inequality of tourist travel. In an economy of niches, the industry, ranging from the most elitist and exclusive to the alternative and collaborative, deploys communicative strategies, emotional and experiential marketing, and, taken together, advertising speeches that create sensibilities, conditions attitudes, and modes of purchase.

Luis Gómez-Encinas

Chapter 9. Neoliberalism, Outsourcing, and Domination

This chapter seeks to approach neoliberalism focusing less on ideology than on practices and their effects. Neoliberalism is linked to the deregulation processes of companies as production institutions (internal labour market, stable work, etc.) and associated to flexibility and precariousness. Deregulation in neoliberalism is to be considered as a managerial strategy and one of its main instruments is outsourcing. After discussing the financial background of capitalism in the 1980s, the chapter analyses neoliberalism from the point of view of its new policies of organization and structure which, through blurring boundaries reshuffle the conditions of workers’ subjection, are responsible for corporations’ transformation. The confluence of capital and new information and communication technologies, through outsourcing, has created a new regime of domination which ties distance control and disciplinary power as a major mode of subjection. Segmented processes of production have produced a time-space rupture of labour solidarities and concealed social conditions in every step of the whole production process. But subcontracting has also permitted new forms of control through which lead companies impose their authority on the subcontractor’s staff. The remote connection of the NICT, its ability to supervise “every moment in an open space”, is largely associated with the force of prescription and processes of labour standards. Some sociologists and philosophers have insisted on the constructivist project of neoliberalism; this chapter shows that it is installing a penitentiary climate at the threshold of the twenty-first century.

Patrick Cingolani

Chapter 10. Facing the Self-Government Test: Italian Youth and the Avatars of Neoliberalism

This chapter investigates the impact that neoliberalism has on the experiences and representations of ‘work’ among young Italians. Drawing on research conducted in the Italian city of Milan from 2013 to 2017, the chapter analyzes the transformations of the perceptions and experiences of work among young people from 18 to 30 years old. The aim is to shed light on the way in which this generation imagines, practices, and elaborates an experience of work in the current context of neoliberal policies, amid the growing importance of knowledge, emotions, and social relations in work processes typical of the ‘immaterial economies’, and in response to rapid changes in demands for skills and self-entrepreneurship. In its first section, the chapter analyzes some general characteristics of the transformations of the job market and job opportunities for young Italian people in the past decade, with specific attention to the exemplary case of Milan. In the second section, the chapter presents the empirical research conducted in that city, analyzing from a generational and intersectional point of view the experiences and the representation of work among the interviewees.

Paola Rebughini

Chapter 11. Capitalism, Hacking, and Digital Media

This chapter examines the logic of developments in information formats that have produced unintended consequences due to misuse, hacking, and publication of private and protected information. The same logic that enables swift searches and instrumental behavior can also be used to surveil the user and capture information about the user’s practices, preferences, choices, and lifestyle, particularly secured information that can be used to obtain additional information. Based on risk-reduction logics, various accounting and surveillance systems to rationalize marketing strategies and profits, such as TV ratings, consumer credit scores, and quantitative internet “clicks,” ironically, were central to the neo-liberal project despite being vulnerable to manipulation. This logic is reflected in various intended uses of the mediated information, as well as the unintended uses, including “hacking,” or the stealing and unauthorized interception of communication for nefarious purposes, often involving money. These points will be illustrated with recent developments involving the use of social media, especially the ways in which media conglomerates like Google and Facebook enabled Russian-related agents to interfere in the 2016 US Presidential Election (Altheide, Terrorism and the Politics of Fear, 2nd edn. Rowman & Littlefield, New York, 2017). Other examples are drawn from the hacking of hundreds of millions of credit reports controlled by the giant credit agency, Equifax, and some three billion Yahoo accounts.

David L. Altheide


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