New in Jacobin, Jacob Hamburger reviews Melinda Cooper’s Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below.
“If there’s one lesson to be drawn from Melinda Cooper’s masterful new study of capitalism and the American right, it’s that this supposed opposition between neoliberalism and social conservatism is a caricature. The central argument of Family Values is that a shared normative project united neoliberalism and social conservatism as they arose beginning in the 1970s. At the center of this project was the notion of the family. For Cooper, neoliberalism is far from the amoral, or even radically “antinormative” creed it is often made out to be (including by left-wing theorists such as Wolfgang Streeck and Nancy Fraser). No less than social conservatism, neoliberalism sought in its own way to reestablish the family as the basic unit of social life in response to the crises of the second half of the twentieth century. The two movements were hardly mere allies of convenience, let alone mortal enemies. On the contrary, Family Values reveals how their close conceptual and practical collaboration helped to build the foundations of the contemporary social world.”