October 2021 - Media

Media and the psychic lives of neoliberalism and neopopulism

In this session Professor Rosalind Gill will explore the relationship between neoliberalism, populism, culture and media.

Photograph of the head of a statue of Janus, the two-faced god of transitions.Based in Stuart Hall’s perspective of conjunctural analysis, Gill will offer a reading of the contemporary moment as contradictory: it is a moment of intensifying inequality and injustice, but also of solidarity and community; a moment of biopolitical nationalism and of culture wars, but also of activism and resistance, and a sense of valuing things differently (from neighbourliness to cleaner air to birdsong); a moment of rightwing celebrity politicians, lies-as-truth and persistent disinformation, but also a moment in which white colonial mythologies are literally being torn down and in which Covid has made newly visible the stark injustices of contemporary life so that they can no longer be ignored; a moment in which brands have continued to profit from exploitation and suffering, yet in which their persistent attempts at ‘woke-washing’, ‘green-washing’ and ‘care-washing’ demonstrate that they know something other than a move to the right is afoot.

Gill's focus will be on the media and its role in the current crisis, and in particular attempts to win consent for the continuance of neoliberal capitalism. She is particularly interested in understanding the role the media play in shaping and disseminating feelings and emotions, and individual sensibilities and public moods. Gill contends that neoliberalism is not only a political and economic programme, as it is familiarly understood, but also a cultural and psychological project. Her talk will build on a wide range of scholarship in media and cultural studies and psychosocial studies. It will also draw on current research Gill is doing in the UK with young women and nonbinary people, and the relationship between their social media lives and their emotional landscapes.

Curator: Anna Cooper, Film and Television Studies

Lecture (open to the public): Thursday, October 7, 6 PM (MST)

Seminar: Friday, October 8th, 2020, 11am-12:30 PM (MST)


Rosalind Gill's headshotRosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City, University of London, and
has written extensively about media, work, and intimacy. She is known for her work
exploring the relationship between culture and subjectivity, developing ideas about the
psychological turn in neoliberalism. Her books include Gender and the Media (Polity, 2007);
Aesthetic Labour: Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism (Palgrave, 2017 with Ana Sofia Elias and
Christina Scharff); and Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture (Polity, 2018, with
Meg-John Barker and Laura Harvey). Her most recent book is The Confidence Cult(ure) (Duke
University Press, 2021, with Shani Orgad).