Undoing the Demos
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.
About the Author
Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (Zone Books).
—Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia University and Directeur d’études, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
—John Clarke, Professor Emeritus of Social Policy, The Open University
—Costas Douzinas, Director of the Birkbeck institute for the Humanities and author of Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis
—Jamie Peck, author of Constructions of Neoliberal Reason
—Raymond Geuss, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Cambridge
—Rainer Forst, Frankfurt University, author of Justification and Critique