Neoliberalism is variegated, as different types of neoliberalism coexist in a world market that is organized in the shadow of a neoliberalization process that began with neoliberal regime shifts in the United States and United Kingdom. This essay provides a periodization of neoliberal regime shifts within this context, starting with their prehistory up to the point of no return and then tracing their rollback, roll forward, blowback, “Third Way,” moments of financial crisis, and crisis of crisis-management phases. It argues that neoliberal regime shifts were associated from their prehistory onward with intertwined authoritarian populist and authoritarian statist discourses and practices. Nonetheless, the intensification and interaction of crisis-tendencies of different kinds in different phases and changing forms of resistance have led to an increasingly authoritarian statist form of neoliberal regime, characterized by a state of permanent austerity that requires increased surveillance and policing to maintain it. This illustrates Nicos Poulantzas’s suggestion in the 1970s that authoritarian statism is becoming the normal form of the capitalist type of state but rests on the intensification of features normally associated with exceptional regimes. This essay updates Poulantzas’s argument to an era of finance-dominated accumulation and provides a new characterization of authoritarian neoliberal statism.
Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Periodization and Critique
Bob Jessop is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. He is best known for his contributions to critical state theory, critical politi cal economy, welfare state restructuring, and social theory. His most recent book is The State: Past, Present, Future (2015), and he is writing a book currently title “Civil Society as a Mode of Governance: Between Self- Emancipation and Self-Responsibilization.”
Bob Jessop; Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Periodization and Critique. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2019; 118 (2): 343–361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-7381182
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