Edited by Steven C. Roach
Chapter 14: Slow violence, precarity and the overheating of neoliberal consensus
Neoliberal perspectives have maintained a strong grasp within Western democratic societies over the past 40 years despite an ambiance of deepening economic and structural inequalities. Reflecting on recent political milestones such as the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and other burgeoning developments of far-right populism across America and Europe, this chapter addresses the question of how ontological insecurity gains focus as a useful point of departure in contextualizing these events within the strata of neoliberalism. It analyzes this question through a theoretical lens that observes neoliberal consensus as having “overheated” due to the gradual (over)flow of slow, attritional violence. As such, it approaches this idea of overheated consensus with an eye on how these have altered labor relations that have subsequently resulted in a more precarious, volatile society. It concludes that the renewed interest in right-wing populist appeals developed due to an increasingly untenable society that, in turn, challenges the assumptions of a linearly progressive modernity.
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