Neoliberalism Is Violence
As austerity measures intensify in the wake of the most recent global financial crisis, it is becoming ever more clear that neoliberalization exhibits a distinct relational connection with violence. This is not an admonishment of the protests that continue to swell, but rather a recognition that these movements are in fact pushing back against the violent measures that have frustrated and demoralized everyday existence under neoliberalism. There is now considerable room for scepticism with regard to the ‘rising tides lifts all boats’ discourse that is perpetuated by proponents of neoliberal ideology, as the free market has categorically failed at producing a harmonious global village. Promises of utopia are confronted with the stark dystopian realities that exist in a growing number of countries where neoliberalization has not resulted in greater peace and prosperity, but in a profound and unmistakable encounter with violence. This talk questions how neoliberalizing processes often comes suffused with processes of Othering that result in conflict, arguing that neoliberalism itself might be productively understood as a particular form of violence.
About the Presenter
Simon Springer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, Canada. His research agenda explores the political, social, and geographical exclusions that neoliberalization has engendered, particularly in post-transitional Cambodia, where he emphasizes the spatialities of violence and power. He cultivates a cutting edge theoretical approach to his scholarship by foregrounding both poststructuralist critique and a radical revival of anarchist philosophy. Simon’s books include The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Towards Spatial Emancipation (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), The Discourse of Neoliberalism: An Anatomy of a Powerful Idea (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), Violent Neoliberalism: Development, Discourse and Dispossession in Cambodia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and Cambodia’s Neoliberal Order: Violence, Authoritarianism, and the Contestation of Public Space (Routledge, 2010). Simon is the lead editor of The Handbook of Neoliberalism (Routledge, 2016) and serves as a co-editor of ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies and the Transforming Capitalism book series published by Rowman & Littlefield.