A Neoliberalism Reading List

(Re)reading from first to last, as I have recently, Michel Houellebecq’s entire body of translated work leaves me in little doubt that he is the only novelist in the west truly capturing the pernicious effects on individuals living through this latest manifestation of capitalism, a neoliberalism whose influence reaches deep into notions of individualism and identity.

Carole Sweeney’s reading list below is as good as any I’ve seen on the history of capitalism in the twentieth century, and most particularly on the rise of neoliberalism. I’ve read some of these and plan to read the others, and welcome any other reading suggestions along similar lines.

  • Luc Boltanski, Ève Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism
  • Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of our Times
  • Krishnan Kumar, From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World
  • Ash Amin, Post-Fordism: A Reader
  • David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
  • Gilles Lipovetsky, Hypermodern Times
  • Paolo Virno, Michael Hardt, Radical Thought in Italy
  • Zygmunt Bauman, Globalization: The Human Consequences
  • Susan Strange, The Retreat of the State: The Diffusion of Power
  • Henry Giroux, Against the Terror of Neoliberalism: Politics Beyond the Age of Greed
  • 11 thoughts on “A Neoliberalism Reading List

    1. Along with the texts suggested by Robin James’s syllabus, Wendy Brown’s current work on neoliberalism (which takes Foucault’s “Birth of Biopolitics” lecture series as its point of departure) is incisive and lucid, although I’m not sure when it’ll be available in book form. A draft of a lecture she’s been giving is available here:
      http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Homo_Oeconomicus_Homo_Politicus_and_Democracy.pdf

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      • That’s perfect, Anna, thank you for that link. Foucault’s accounts in this area are immensely persuasive. Hardt and Negri also used them as a rewarding point of departure. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for Wendy Brown’s book as I like what I’ve read in the lecture notes.

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      • Thanks, Jan. I’m with you on Harvey, though I’ve yet to read his recent work (must remedy), and I’ll add the Colin Crouch book to my reading list. Houellebecq’s Whatever is the finest literary depiction of a narrator living against the grain of neoliberalism that I’ve read, a Nausea of our times.

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