This seminar explores theoretical accounts of the relationship of democracy to neoliberalism.Neither term will be treated as fixed or stable in meaning; however the former will be understood as comprising popular sovereignty and the latter as involving both an ensemble of state policies and a governing order of reason. Our guiding questions: Does neoliberal rationality inadvertently or directly subvert democratic presumptions or aspirations? Why and how? Through what kinds of norms, principles or programs? How does neoliberalism differ from the problem of technological rationality identified by Weber and Marcuse prior to neoliberal or financialized orders? Is the problem of neoliberalism distinct from or related to financialization and the question of how democracy can survive domination by financial markets? What, if any, are the prospects for recovering democratic political control of contemporary economic concentrations of power?
In pondering these questions and others, we will be reading original neoliberal thinkers, especially where their thought addresses democracy, as well as contemporary critical theorists. Our readings will be focused on the Euro-Atlantic world; however, students are welcome to bring concerns from other quarters of the world to the seminar table. The syllabus will include work by Lippmann, Friedman, Hayek, Weber, Marcuse, Ropke, Eucken, Becker, Posner, Streeck, Offe, Habermas, Varoufakis, Biebricher, Kuhner and Krippner.
Admission is by permission of instructor and limited to 15. Five of these seats are reserved for Critical Theory students. You may indicate interest in the course by placing yourself on the waitlist.