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Distributed for Zone Books. Tracing neoliberalism's devastating erosions of democratic principles, practices, and cultures. 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. Political theorist Wendy Brown opens her brilliant and incisive new book, Undoing the Demos , with a clarion call: Western democracy is imperiled. According to Brown, democracy has grown gaunt as a consequence of an ascendant political rationality that, like an ideological autoimmune disorder, has assaulted its very fiber and future…Democracy is the crux of the issue…and by focusing on how it's been diminished Brown has written a book that deserves to be widely read.
For Brown, that core is not the soul but democratic citizenship: our sense of belonging in a common world that we can govern together with others.
In the era of neoliberalism, she writes, we are forced to translate ourselves into the inhuman idiom of entrepreneurial competitiveness, rendering our entire lives legible in the ruthless grammar of market competition. Brown's book is theoretical yet accessible…essential reading not only for academics but for anyone concerned with our collective political future, and with the defense of democratic politics.
Draws important empirical and analytical connections between Foucault's analytical approach to governmentality and a complementary Marxist critique of the material inequality that follows from neoliberal market reforms…[and] shows how such developments are reinforced by widespread acceptance of the concept of human capital.
Wendy Brown's new book, Undoing the Demos , is a clarion call to democratic action. In close conversation with Michel Foucault's lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics , Brown brilliantly explores how the rationality of neoliberalism is hollowing out the modern subject and, with it, our contemporary liberal democracies. Delving deep into the logic of neoliberalism and widely across the spectrum of neoliberal practices, from benchmarking to higher education policy, Brown offers a compelling new dimension to the critical work on neoliberalism.
It is necessary reading today—powerful and haunting. With this passionately incisive critique of neoliberal ir rationality, Wendy Brown delineates the political stakes of the present. Tracing its antipolitical and antidemocratic impulses, she challenges us to defend and extend the possibilities of a popular politics that makes the promises of democracy come true.
This is a book for the age of resistance, for the occupiers of the squares, for the generation of Occupy Wall Street. The premier radical political philosopher of our time offers a devastating critique of the way neoliberalism has hollowed out democracy.
But the victory of homo oeconomicus over homo politicus is not irreversible. Wendy Brown has little time for 'left melancholy.
After reading Brown, only bad faith can justify the toleration of neoliberalism. Director of the Birkbeck institute for the Humanities and author of Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis. Wendy Brown vividly lays bare neoliberalism's perverse rationality, the 'economization of everything,' documenting its corrosive consequences for public institutions, for solidaristic values, and for democracy itself. Essential but unsettling reading, Undoing the Demos is analytically acute and deeply disturbing.
Brown deepens the conceptual analysis and criticism of neoliberal ideology, now on the point of becoming the dominant way people think about themselves, their lives and their social world.
In illuminating detail, she also discusses the real and horrifying social changes taking place partly as a result of the way in which this ideology is being implemented. A major contribution, presenting its arguments with power and clarity, this book helps us understand the world we have increasingly been forced to live in, and to begin the process of thinking about what might be done to revitalize our political imagination and practices.
A trenchant critique of the piecemeal neoliberal destruction of democratic politics by one of the most powerful political theorists of our time. Undoing the Demos is a much-needed, passionate defense of political autonomy. Wendy Brown. Michel Feher. Melinda Cooper. Search Search. Search Advanced Search close Close. Preview Preview.
Add to Cart Buying Options. Request Permissions Exam copy. Overview Author s Praise. Summary Tracing neoliberalism's devastating erosions of democratic principles, practices, and cultures. Share Share Share email.
Reviews Political theorist Wendy Brown opens her brilliant and incisive new book, Undoing the Demos , with a clarion call: Western democracy is imperiled. Boston Review Brown's book is theoretical yet accessible…essential reading not only for academics but for anyone concerned with our collective political future, and with the defense of democratic politics. Pop Matters Draws important empirical and analytical connections between Foucault's analytical approach to governmentality and a complementary Marxist critique of the material inequality that follows from neoliberal market reforms…[and] shows how such developments are reinforced by widespread acceptance of the concept of human capital.
Foucault Studies. Endorsements Wendy Brown's new book, Undoing the Demos , is a clarion call to democratic action. Bernard E. Costas Douzinas Director of the Birkbeck institute for the Humanities and author of Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis Wendy Brown vividly lays bare neoliberalism's perverse rationality, the 'economization of everything,' documenting its corrosive consequences for public institutions, for solidaristic values, and for democracy itself.
Jamie Peck author of Constructions of Neoliberal Reason Brown deepens the conceptual analysis and criticism of neoliberal ideology, now on the point of becoming the dominant way people think about themselves, their lives and their social world. Raymond Geuss Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Cambridge A trenchant critique of the piecemeal neoliberal destruction of democratic politics by one of the most powerful political theorists of our time.
My worth is not in what i own
Wendy L. Brown born November 28, is an American political theorist. A and Ph. D in political philosophy from Princeton University. Brown's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has received many awards.
Brown's thinking on the decline of sovereignty and the hollowing out of democracy has found popular and journalistic audiences, with discussions of her work appearing in The New York Times , The Washington Post , and The Guardian. Brown has established new paradigms in critical legal studies and feminist theory. In this work Brown asks how a sense of woundedness can become the basis for individual and collective forms of identity. From outlawing hate speech to banning pornography, Brown argues, well-intentioned attempts at protection can legitimize the state while harming subjects by codifying their identities as helpless or in need of continuous governmental regulation.
While breaking ground in political theory, this work also represents one of Brown's key interventions in feminist and queer theory. The book offers a novel account of legal and political power as constitutive of norms of sexuality and gender. Through the concept of "wounded attachments", Brown contends that psychic injury may accompany and sustain racial, ethnic, and gender categories, particularly in relation to state law and discursive formations.
In this and other works Brown has criticized representatives of second wave feminism, such as Catharine MacKinnon , for reinscribing the category of "woman" as an essentialized identity premised on injury. This book comprises a series of essays on contemporary political issues from the problem of moralism in politics to the legacies of past injustices in the present.
Throughout her thematically overlapping chapters, Brown asks: "What happens to left and liberal political orientations when faith in progress is broken, when both the sovereign individual and sovereign states seem tenuous, when desire seems as likely to seek punishment as freedom, when all political conviction is revealed as contingent and subjective?
Drawing on a range of thinkers, such as Freud , Marx , Nietzsche , Spinoza , Benjamin and Derrida , Brown rethinks the disorientation and possibility inherent to contemporary democracy.
This work consists of seven articles responding to particular occasions, each of which "mimic, in certain ways, the experience of the political realm: one is challenged to think here, now, about a problem that is set and framed by someone else, and to do so before a particular audience or in dialogue with others not of one's own choosing. According to Brown, the essays do not aim to definitively answer the given questions but "to critically interrogate the framing and naming practices, challenge the dogmas including those of the Left and of feminism , and discern the constitutive powers shaping the problem at hand.
In this book, Brown subverts the usual and widely accepted notion that tolerance is one of the most remarkable achievements of Western modernity. She suggests that tolerance or toleration cannot be perceived as the complete opposite to violence. At times, it can also be used to justify violence. Brown argues that tolerance primarily operates as a discourse of subject construction and a mode of governmentality that addresses or confirms asymmetric relations between different groups, each of which must then "tolerate" other groups and categories or "be tolerated" by the dominant groups and categories.
To substantiate her thesis, Brown examines the tolerance discourse of figures like George W. Bush , Jimmy Carter , Samuel Huntington , Susan Okin , Michael Ignatieff , Bernard Lewis , and Seyla Benhabib and argues that "tolerance as a political practice is always conferred by the dominant, it is always a certain expression of domination even as it offers protection or incorporation to the less powerful.
Here Brown argues against primarily moral or normative approaches to power and discourse , and warns against the dangers of uncritically celebrating the liberal ideal of tolerance, as frequently happens in Western notions of historical, civilizational or moral progress. Published exclusively in French, Les habits neufs de la politique mondiale The New Clothes of World Politics argues that the following political fact is irreversible: liberal democracy, as a global social and historical modality of statecraft, is dying.
The two movements delivering such blows, neoliberalism and neoconservatism, feature both resonances and dissonances. Brown argues that whilst the former acts as a political rationality, a mode of general regulation of behavior, the latter is both necessary to its survival, and parasitic of its survival. As a form of governmentality that redefines freedom, neoliberalism will moralize politics, limiting its scope; this is the function of neo-conservatism.
This book examines the revival of wall-building under shifting conditions of global capitalism. Brown not only problematizes the assumed functions of walls, such as the prevention of crime, migration, smuggling, and so on.
She also argues that walling has taken on new a significance due to its symbolic function in an increasingly globalized and precarious world of financial capital. As individual identity as well as nation-state sovereignty are threatened, walls become objects invested with individual and collective desire.
Anxious efforts to shore up national identity are thus projected onto borders as well as new material structures that would appear to secure them. Brown's study begins by engaging and revising key arguments in Foucault's The Birth of Biopolitics with the aim of analyzing different ways that democracy is being hollowed out by neoliberal rationality.
The individual chapters of the book examine the effects of neoliberalization on higher education, law,  governance,  the basic principles of liberal democratic institutions,  as well as radical democratic imaginaries.
Brown treats "neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is 'economized' and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity whether public or private, whether person, business, or state is governed as a firm.
Brown's latest book, published in by Columbia University Press, analyses the hard-right turn in Western politics. While this turn is animated by socioeconomically aggrieved white working- and middle-class populations, Brown argues that it is also contoured by the multipronged assault on democratic values taking place under neoliberalism.
In the Ruins of Neoliberalism traces the ambition to replace democratic orders with ones disciplined by markets and traditional morality and democratic states with technocratic ones. Brown also explores the unintentional outcomes of neoliberal reason, from its attack on the value of society and its fetish of individual freedom to its legitimation of inequality, to understand how it generates an apocalyptic populism willing to destroy the world rather than endure a future in which white male supremacy disappears.
A prominent public intellectual in the United States, Brown has written and spoken about issues of free speech,  public education, political protest,  LGBTQ issues, sexual assault,  Donald Trump,  conservatism, neoliberalism,  and other matters of national and international concern. For decades, Brown has been active in efforts to resist measures toward the privatization of the University of California system. Brown has criticized university administration for their response to sexual assault.
Graduate students gave up on careers, and these perpetrators were allowed to continue, and that was wrong—never should have happened," she said. At the "99 Mile March" to Sacramento she addressed her criticism to more general trends: "We are marching to draw attention to the plight of public education in California and to implore Californians to re-invest in it.
For all its resources, innovation and wealth, California has sunk to nearly the bottom of the nation in per student spending, and our public higher education system, once the envy of the world, is in real peril.
We are delighted by the protests and consider our campaign to be at one with it. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wendy Brown. Continental philosophy Critical theory Third-wave feminism Queer theory Postmodernism Post-structuralism Critical legal studies.
Retrieved June 17, Retrieved Retrieved June 6, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility". Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Humanities Council. Columbia University Press. Retrieved June 5, The New York Times. The Guardian. Evangelicals may be his last resort". Washington Post. Zone Books. Feminist Legal Studies. Prior to States of Injury , Brown addressed Toward a Feminist Theory of the State in The Nation , characterizing it as a "profoundly static world view and undemocratic, perhaps even anti-democratic, political sensibility" as well as "flatly dated" and "developed at 'the dawn of feminism's second wave Princeton University Press.
Critical Inquiry. The Politics of the Veil. The Power of Tolerance: A Debate. Retrieved 3 December European Journal of Sociology. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Community portal Recent changes Upload file.
Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. Download as PDF Printable version. Brown in Berkeley, Contemporary philosophy. Western philosophy. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Wendy Brown.