New book explores the defining ideology of the 21st century.

Posted on 18th December 2017

The complexities of neoliberalism – the defining ideology of our era – are explored in a new book published by the University of Chester Press.

Dr Martin Potter and Dr Jonathon Louth at the book launch in Adelaide.
Dr Martin Potter and Dr Jonathon Louth at the book launch in Adelaide.

Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities is the 10th volume in the Issues in the Social Sciences (ISS) series from the University’s publishing house. It is edited by Dr Jonathon Louth, who is a Research Fellow in the Australian Centre for Community Services Research at Flinders University, Adelaide; and Dr Martin Potter, a Lecturer in Creative Arts and Media at James Cook University, in Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Neoliberalism has dominated headlines in recent years and emerged as the dominant economic, political and cultural ideology of recent decades.

Neoliberalism has shaped our lives for more than 40 years, from the wide-ranging organisational structures of our global economy, to our most intimate bodily practices. However, neoliberalism as an idea and as an ideology, although widely reported on, is rarely reflected on in terms of its impact on our everyday lives. In this engaging and accessible volume, co-editors Jonathon Louth and Martin Potter have brought together researchers from across the globe, to explore the ways in which neoliberalism influences the most intimate, daily aspects of our life.

Spanning continents and decades, this volume explores the impact of neoliberalism across the globe - from an exploration of how the story of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl shot by a member of the Taliban, is subsumed within a Western, neoliberal framework, to Australia’s attitude to asylum seekers as economic refugees. Nations and citizenship, urban transformation, gender, disability, welfare, work and sexual performance are also explored – demonstrating the astonishing scope of neoliberalism to inform our identities from an individual to a societal scale.

The purpose of this collected volume is to allow readers to embrace a broad understanding of neoliberalism. This book goes some way to providing both tools and guides for readers for critical analysis and theoretical reflection.

Co-editor Dr Jonathon Louth said: “By neoliberalism we refer to an ideology nearly a century in the making, and a belief system that has been in the ascendency over the past four decades. In this world, we speak less of citizens and more of consumers and it is the internalisation of this logic to which this book speaks.”

Co-author Dr Martin Potter adds: “The neoliberal idea was sold spectacularly well to a self-interested, individualistic middle class, who absorbed the idea as an economic inevitability. While neoliberal ‘freedoms’ have been rolled out, the position of elites has only become more entrenched and global inequality has only been exacerbated.”

Volume series editor, Dr Katherine Harrison, who is the Course Director for English and Media at Leeds Beckett University, said: “This is a truly international, peer-reviewed edited collection that gathers together researchers across Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Since the first volume of Issues in the Social Sciences (ISS) was published in 2003, the series’ readership has expanded internationally, meaning that its capacity to share ideas with Social Sciences students across the world has increased far beyond original expectations. It is therefore both appropriate and gratifying that this 10th instalment in the ISS series takes a truly global perspective.”

Professor Timothy Doyle from the Department of Politics and International Studies, at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said: "Louth and Potter have curated a remarkably diverse, yet coherent collection of contributions that investigate how markets shape us and the societies we live in. This is a volume for students and scholars alike who want to better understand how neoliberalism is imbricated into our everyday.”

Dr Sophia Price, Head of Politics and International Relations, Leeds Beckett University, added: "The detailed empirical focus makes the theoretical discussion accessible and will help readers to understand and explore the complexity of the subject matter."

Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities can be ordered directly from the University of Chester Press by visiting: www.chester.ac.uk/university-press