In the wake of new far-right populisms, the fragmentation of progressive global narratives and the dismantling of economic globalization, there are signs that neoliberalism is beginning to enter its death throes. Using 1968 as one of the inaugural moments of neoliberalism, this interdisciplinary collection is a critical and comparative resource that reexamines the significance and legacy of the global 1968 uprisings from today’s vantage point.
For scholars and students alike, this interdisciplinary collection will help readers understand why the global uprisings of 1968 continue to resonate and what it means for theory and culture today.
Guillaume Collett is an honorary research fellow in the Centre for Critical Thought at the University of Kent and currently based in the University of Malta. He is the author of The Psychoanalysis of Sense: Deleuze and the Lacanian School (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), and the editor of Deleuze, Guattari, and the Problem of Transdisciplinarity (Bloomsbury, 2019). He has edited two special issues and previously co-edited the journal La Deleuziana.
Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone is a visiting senior lecturer in English at the University of Malta, a research fellow at the University of Kent, and a research assistant in refugee law with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Giappone has published in the areas of digital games, critical theory, and the history of subcultures and is coeditor of Comedy and Critical Thought (Rowman and Littlefield International 2018).
Iain MacKenzie teaches political theory at the University of Kent. His research focuses on the nature and scope of critique, and he is coeditor of Comedy and Critical Thought: Laughter as Resistance (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2018).
List of Figures
1 Introduction: Revolution Today
PART I: 1968 AND MARXISM
2 Communism as the Riddle Posed to History
3 Workers and Capitalists: Two Different Worlds? Immanence
and Antagonism in Marx’s Capital
4 The Unfulfilled Promises of the Italian 1968 Protest Movement
PART II: FREEDOM AND RIGHTS
5 On Ludic Servitude
6 Contrasting Legacies of ’68: Deleuze and Human Rights
7 ’68 and Sexuality: Disentangling the Double Bind
PART III: COLLECTIVE PRACTICES AND INSTITUTIONS
8 Two Kinds of Critical Pragmatism 161
9 May ’68: An Institutional Event
Gabriela Hernández De La Fuente
10 Communist Guilt, Public Happiness and the Feelings of Collective Attachment
11 Community, Theatre and Political Labour: Unworking the
Socialist Legacy of 1968
About the Contributors
In The Double Binds of Neoliberalism, the contributors provide a detailed and astute unveiling of our contemporary dilemma. Neoliberalism has proven itself adept at offering a false sense of progress by mimicking (but not offering) many of the demands that came from the late 1960s in terms of racial, gender and sexual justice. In doing so, Neoliberalism has effectively separated political and economic forms of determination—commandeering the product of work for their own purposes. This is the double bind of the title: fake moves towards negative freedoms based on identity with a concomitant usurpation of positive, economic freedoms at the same time. The double bind means that leftist modes of organizing and fomenting change are readily coopted by neoliberalism to further reaction and the accumulation of capital by the one percent. If you want to read a volume that explains exactly how we got into the mess we are in and learn how many leftist solutions are bound to fail from the get-go (although these contributors do give a sense of new and better directions to go in), this is the book for you.
Uniformly insightful and provocative, the essays of this book take up the multiple and still very much undecided legacies of the events of May 1968 in order to engage the contemporary problems and practical deadlocks of critique and collective action today. In a global context wherein the possibilities of radical change unlocked by 1968 have often been re-appropriated by dominant strands of neoliberal individualism and capitalism, these contributors bring out in multiple ways the suggestive and unsettled potentials for liberation and transformation that still lie concealed within that moment's promise of new forms of political and social organization at a distance from both party and state. For its insightful critical analyses and acute sensitivity to the contradictions of the present, this book will be eagerly sought out by those who, in the face of the global retrenchment of capitalism and dominant forms of subject formation and state power, nevertheless can still hear today the call of 1968 to 'be realistic -- demand the impossible!'
The Double Binds of Neoliberalism offers an incisive critique of the contradictions of neoliberalism, while resisting any reduction of complexity. It uniquely combines the sobering analysis of the current impasses of the Left with a staunch defense of the heritage of '68, mapping much-needed potentials for revolutionary breakthrough.