Introduction: Undoing the demos

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    In Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution, Wendy Brown argues that neo-liberalism has undermined democracy in a hitherto unprecedented form. To be specific, neo-liberalism has undermined what is at the heart of democracy: popular sovereignty, the demos – it has, in a word, undone the demos and, hence, democracy. Analysing neo-liberalism and its relationship to democracy, Brown draws on the works of Michel Foucault and Karl Marx. The exchange here between the three reviewers –Mitchell Dean, Alen Toplišek and Anne Barron – and Wendy Brown focuses on a number of issues: the use and usefulness of Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality and Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism for analysing neoliberalism; the way that neoliberalism ‘economises’ everything including politics and democracy; the nature of the state and of sovereignty, and how the left should relate to these; and the nature of critique in its different forms (Kantian, Foucauldian, Marxist and others). These are issues that are important not only for the specific argument of Undoing the Demos, but more generally for social and political theory today.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Political Science
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)263-286
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Democracy
    • Foucault
    • Governmentality
    • Marx
    • Neo-liberalism

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