Neoliberalism’s Three Faces
Title: Neoliberalism’s Three Faces
Author: LEE MUDGE, Stephanie
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2008/34
Neoliberalism is oft invoked but ill-defined in the social sciences. This paper develops a tripartite definition of neoliberalism using tools from institutionalism and field theory. It argues that neoliberalism is a sui generis ideological system born of historical processes of struggle and collaboration in three worlds: intellectual, bureaucratic, and political. Among neoliberalism’s three ‘faces,’ its mode as a form of politics has received the least attention. To fill this gap, I develop a definition of neoliberal politics as struggles over political authority that are bounded by a particularly market-centric set of ideas about the state’s responsibilities, the locus of state authority, and the state’s central constituencies. Given that social democratic politics were particularly powerful in Western Europe for much of the postwar period, neoliberalism among the mainstream parties of the European left deserves particular attention.
Subject: Neoliberalism; economic thought; institutionalism; political economy; intellectuals; left politics
Type of Access: openAccess