The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy

The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy

Lisa Duggan

Language: English

Pages: 136

ISBN: 0807079553

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


By now, we've all heard about the shocking redistribution of wealth that's occurred during the last thirty years, and particularly during the last decade. But economic changes like this don't occur in a vacuum; they're always linked to politics. The Twilight of Equality? searches out these links through an analysis of the politics of the 1990s, the decade when neoliberalism-free market economics-became gospel. After a brilliant historical examination of how racial and gender inequities were woven into the very theoretical underpinnings of the neoliberal model of the state, Duggan shows how these inequities play out today. In a series of political case studies, Duggan reveals how neoliberal goals have been pursued, demonstrating that progressive arguments that separate identity politics and economic policy, cultural politics and affairs of state, can only fail. Ultimately, The Twilight of Equality? not only reveals how the highly successful rhetorical maneuvers of neoliberalism have functioned but, more importantly, it shows a way to revitalize and unify progressive politics in the U.S. today.

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practice, the institutions promulgating neoliberal solutions to global problems have advanced the specific interests of Western financial, commercial, and trade centers with coercive tools—especially through offering conditioned loans to needy nations, and by negotiating and imposing biased trade agreements. The practices of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization have resulted not in a "neutral" global framework for economic and cultural flows, as the

risk and dishonors them The warhead on the USS Enterprise is as contemptible and a far more serious instance of gay-bashing because it comes from those charged with our protection and defense.9 New York activist Bill Dobbs commented in reply, Yes, the graffiti in question is deplorable. But then there is the slight matter of the bomb itself. And what happens when it is armed, dropped from the air and explodes. Does the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (a coalition of gay groups)

something about the unique status of homosexuals in our society that we now have to be political in order to be prepolitical. Our battle, after all, is not for political victory but for personal integrity. In the same way that many of us had to leave our families in order to join them again, so now as citizens, we have to embrace politics if only ultimately to be free of it.35 There is no vision of a collective, democratic public culture, or of an ongoing engagement with contentious cantankerous

Nikhil Pal Singh published in the anthology Out at Work: Building a Gay-Labor Alliance. Hollibaugh and Singh examine the new labor politics, looking for signs of political convergence and synergy among labor organizers and new social movement veterans. They critique left universalists for wanting to reprivatize whole landscapes of social life, the lived modalities of race, gender, and sexuality, in ways that impoverish labor organizing, as well as left politics generally. Hollibaugh points to the

Nelson, Ann Cvetkovich, Nan Hunter, Laura Kipnis, Michael Warner, David Halperin, Valerie Traub, Cora Kaplan, Beth Povinelli, Amy Kesselman (who provided crucial research access for chapter 2), and Roger Bowen (who graciously agreed to speak with me). There is no adequate way to convey how grateful I am to my editor at Beacon, Amy Caldwell, whose patience and dogged support made all the difference in my getting this project into print. In addition, for setting the highest standard in political

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