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Power, politics, and places

What's not neo-liberal?

John Clarke

I am delighted by the generous and critical engagement that Peter Little, Don Nonini, and Neil Smith have brought to my uneven and unsteady thoughts about neo-liberalism. I hope that this response maintains the tone and style of their thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. They all make examining the times and places of neoliberalism a central concern.

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John Clarke

This article examines the modernisation of universities in the U.K., arguing that heterogeneous policy objectives and strategies have become condensed in the construction of higher education as a governable system and the university as a corporate enterprise. It argues that managerialism has displaced and subordinated professional and administrative logics for the coordination of universities, articulating them into supporting roles. Finally, it examines some of the cultural psychological states associated with the contradictory and uncomfortable assemblage that is the modernized university: identifying fantasy, dissociation and professional melancholia. It concludes with an argument that nostalgia for a lost academic community cannot be a foundation for political challenges to the present model.

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John Clarke

This article explores the significance of the work of Stuart Hall for social and political anthropology. It identifies the concern with concrete conjunctural analysis, the continuing attention to the problem of hegemony, and the centrality of a politics of articulation in theory and practice as core features of Hall's work. The article also touches on his complex relationship with theory and theorizing while grounding his work in a series of political and ethical commitments within and beyond the university.

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John Clarke

This article explores some concerns about the concept of neo-liberalism, suggesting that it has been stretched too far to be productive as a critical analytical tool. Neo-liberalism suffers from promiscuity (hanging out with various theoretical perspectives), omnipresence (treated as a universal or global phenomenon), and omnipotence (identified as the cause of a wide variety of social, political and economic changes). Alternative ways of treating neo-liberalism as more contingent and contested are considered. These emphasize its mobile and flexible character, stressing processes of contextual assemblage, articulation, and translation. The article concludes by wondering whether the concept of neo-liberalism is now so overused that it should be retired.