Here’s an old podcast from 2014 conducted with me by Douglas Lain, talking about the late Rick Roderick and my book The Political Unconscious.
The guest this week is professor and philosopher Noelle McAfee and we discuss her friendship with the late Rick Roderick and her book Democracy and the Political Unconscious.
You’ll hear a lot of clips of Rick Roderick in this episode as well as music from the Art of Noise, the theme from the motion picture The Candyman, Charles Ives 3 Quarter Tone Pieces, and Luc Ferrari’s Societe II.
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Tomorrow I’m heading to Dayton, Ohio, to take part in its monthly research meeting and talk about one of my latest papers-in-progress, “Neoliberalism, the Street, and the Forum.” (This if for a chapter of a book under review with Routledge edited by Albena Azmanova and Mihaela Mihai titled Reclaiming Democracy.) The issue is this: in a neoliberal age that eschews political choice in favor of the TINA (there is no alternative) logic of the market (no matter that this logic is seriously flawed), how can the public sphere respond? I argue that the often seemingly dueling elements of the public sphere — social movements and deliberative forums — have a complementary relationship and together can counter neoliberalism’s anti-politics. Social movements help us think what we are doing. This is an Arendtian way of putting something Arendt never herself wanted to think: that social movements have a crucial role in the political, that is the political public sphere of deciding what kind of people and communities we want to become.
Because of the looming storm, my SOPHIA talk is postponed until February 26. More details to come.
This Wednesday, February 12 at 3 p.m., I’m giving a talk at Spelman College as part of the SOPHIA (Series on Political Philosophy in Atlanta) talks.
“Social Movements and Deliberative Publics: Countering Neoliberalism’s Anti-Politics”
Reconceptualizing the relationship between the social (e.g. new social movements) and the political (namely, deliberative publics) provides a way to counter neoliberalism’s anti-politics. I start this paper by explaining the problem of political elites deferring to market mechanisms rather than engaging in political thinking, deliberating, and judging other ways to address problems. Then I describe the present tension between (i) new social movements that also seem to shun politics (i.e., the politics of deliberative choice) in favor of protests and demands and (ii) deliberative publics, from informal citizen deliberations to formal legislative ones. I argue, following Iris Marion Young, that this tension between “the activist” and “the deliberative democrat” is not oppositional but rather is productive. This is best understood by conceptualizing the various moments in a larger political process, which includes the steps of naming and framing public issues as well as deliberation and choice. This brings to light the need for more formal entry points for citizen public deliberation into the political process as well as the importance that social movements play in challenging the status quo and showing what is being marginalized and needs to be addressed. Finally, I show how the challenge is especially pressing as neoliberalism goes global.