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Spring 2024


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New in Critical Inquiry
Neoliberalism’s Defeat of Democracy

In this new review inCritical Inquiry, Jodi Dean discusses Wendy Brown’s Undoing the Demos. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below.

“In 1989, Francis Fukuyama famously announced the end of history. The great ideological struggles characteristic not only of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but of history as such had come to an end. Contrary to what had appeared in the class compromise following WWII as social democracy’s merging of liberalism and communism, history ended with the defeat of socialism and the “unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism.”[1] Communism was swept into history’s dustbin. There was no alternative to liberal democracy, capitalism’s political form. Wendy Brown’s Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution dismantles the fantasy formatting this vision of liberal democratic triumph. Capitalism did not just defeat communism. Capitalism, in the form of neoliberal reason, defeated democracy. Neoliberalism’s full-frontal attack on the working class has long been a central element in the story of the dismantling of the welfare state. Brown widens the story into one of the demolition of citizenship, popular sovereignty, and the very idea of the demos.”