From Neoliberalism to the Anthropocene
April 20, 2023, Public Lecture, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
April 21, 2023, Lunch Workshop, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Locations: ML 453
The Neoliberal critique of modernity’s universalist assumptions, enabling the state-led direction of economic and social relations, is that they are based upon dangerous, and idealist, hubris. Liberal assumptions of universal frames of knowledge and of policy application have been powerfully critiqued by a neoliberal emphasis upon difference, upon plurality, upon pragmatism and upon contextual relations. In the 1980s and 1990s neoliberal criticisms were marginal, often seen as politically reactionary, and to be essentializing difference, in the 2000s and 2010s this has been far from the case. The neoliberal emphasis on epistemological humility, on difference and plurality, has, in the current epoch of the Anthropocene, become a dominant framing for both policy-making and for academic debate. One way of tracing this shift towards a mainstreaming of (what were) neoliberal concerns is through an engagement with discourses of resilience and adaptation. This presentation traces two imaginaries of resilience, the first involves a drilling down to understand society in terms of difference and multiplicity, the second seeks to hitch itself to the powers of immanence in a dynamic of ‘ungoverning’; of development, democracy and justice ‘to come’. Perhaps we will conclude with a discussion of the journey of neoliberalism, of epistemological scepticism and ontological differentiation, and the stakes of critique from both modernist and deconstructionist positionalities.
Linked PDFs are password-protected.
David Chandler is Professor of International Relations at the University of Westminster, London, UK. He has written or edited approaching 30 books. His recent monographs include, The World as Abyss: The Caribbean and Critical Thought in the Anthropocene (with Jonathan Pugh) (University of Westminster Press, forthcoming); Anthropocene Islands: Entangled Worlds (with Jonathan Pugh) (University of Westminster Press, 2021); Becoming Indigenous: Governing Imaginaries in the Anthropocene (with Julian Reid) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); Ontopolitics in the Anthropocene: An Introduction to Mapping, Sensing and Hacking (single authored) (Routledge, 2018); The Neoliberal Subject: Resilience, Adaptation and Vulnerability (with Julian Reid) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).