September – Genealogy

Contradictory Cohabitations?

Neoliberalism and Populism Across Space and Time

What is neoliberalism? A form of market rule, a revanchist class project, an internalized form of economic rationality? It is a fuzzy and shifting signifier that defies efforts to reduce it to a singularity. This can make neoliberalism hard to define and discuss across contexts – from one time and place to another, or from one discipline or theoretical approach to another.

In this conversation with Jamie Peck, one of the most widely cited scholars of neoliberalism, we wade into these murky definitional waters, consider the origins of neoliberalism as well as its evolution, “actually-existing” forms, and variegation across space and time. We then turn to the current conjuncture to consider the relationship between neoliberalism, its imagined alternatives, and co-minglings with various strains of authoritarianism and populism. We conclude with reflections on neoliberalism’s continued applicability and potential futures as pandemic disease and economic crisis once again fuel speculation of its imminent demise.

Curators: Mark Kear (Geography) and David Gibbs (History)

In conversation (open to the public): Thursday, September 10, 2020, 6pm

In seminar: Friday, September 11, 2020, 11am

Margaret Thatcher cardboard cutout with a caption stating "There is no alternative."



A portrait of Professor Jamie Peck

Professor Jamie Peck is the Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is an institutional political economist and economic geographer whose work covers a wide range of topics from urban restructuring and labor regulation to statecraft. A common concern in his work is the way that ostensibly global processes of neoliberalization are (re)made through local sites, distanciated networks, and grounded practices.  He has authored and edited more than fifteen books, including Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (2013), Offshore (2017), Fast Policy (2015) and Workfare States (2001), along with scores of articles related to market-oriented governance.



Seminar Readings:

MacLean, N. (2017). Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Penguin. Introduction, and chapters 8 and 9.


Mann, G. (2017). Part I: Keynesianism. in In the Long Run We Are All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution. Verso Books.


Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (2019). Still Neoliberalism? South Atlantic Quarterly, 118 (2), 245–265.

Peck, J., & Theodore, N.pdf

Slobodian, Q. (2020). Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. Harvard University Press. Introduction, and chapters 1 and 4.

Globalist Intro-one.pdf

Globalist four.pdf

The linked PDFs are password-protected.