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Polemos no. 2, 2023: NEOLIBERAL GLOBALISATION AND ITS CRISIS
Edited by Giulio Azzolini and Fulvia Giachetti
‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘globalisation’ are highly polysemic words, to the point that it is reasonable to assume that their association increases their vagueness. One of the wagers in this issue of ‘Polemos’ is that, squeezed together, the two categories can instead clarify each other. The idea of ‘neo-liberal globalisation’, in fact, suggests the opportunity to recognise in the process of economic, political, social and cultural integration, which has developed in recent decades, a rather determinate philosophy of government. This syntagma thus establishes a theoretical-political field within which to discuss a set of relevant issues of our time.
The aim of this issue of the journal is to demarcate the boundaries of such a field, clarifying the main contents that give depth to neoliberal globalisation, a recurring but probably still under-theorised expression. In doing so, we intend to shed critical light on a current theoretical and political node: the crisis of the neoliberal global order, which has most recently matured with the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Are we witnessing a reconfirmation, a rearticulation or the definitive demise of neoliberal globalisation? To answer this question, the issue proposes an itinerary that unfolds in several stages.
The “Essays” section is imagined as a contribution to: outline the theoretical framework of the neo-liberal global governance philosophy, against the backdrop of the modern traditions it reworks, from liberalism to conservatism; reflect on the ways in which this framework, evidently plural and sometimes contradictory, has eventually shaped the main supra-national institutions and influenced the policies of states in relation to the production and reproduction of globalised capitalism, not only in the Euro-Atlantic context; to understand the forms of inequality and oppression associated with the transition to global neoliberalism; to analyse the neoliberal logic of global capital at the regional level; and to reason about how neoliberal globalisation has defined a new experience of space and time, from which an unprecedented ‘contemporaneity of the non-contemporary’ follows.
The “Materials” section will host the translation of documents of primary importance for understanding some of the main theoretical models of neoliberal globalisation, investigating, with the help of introductory notes, the regularities, but also the variations, tensions and contradictions of the case.
The ‘Figures’ section aims to investigate the main moments of crisis of the neoliberal order: the contestations from below by the no- and alter-globalist movements, from the Seattle movement to that of Porto Alegre and beyond; its ‘strange undeath’, after the great recession that broke out on Wall Street in 2007-8 and then spread to Europe; the rise to power, in the West and beyond, of a conservative right wing seemingly opposed to the neo-liberal model; the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which urgently re-emphasise the questioning of the geopolitical dimension of globalisation.
The last section ‘Perspectives’ questions the future scenarios opened up by the events investigated in the previous section. Will neoliberalism persist by virtue of its capacity for ‘resilience’? Will deglobalisation take place in the context of a new Cold War? Will a neo-Keynesian globalisation model assert itself, which at the national level will be reflected in neo-statism? What are the main scenarios of the struggle against neoliberalism? Is it possible to imagine not only a post-neoliberal, but also a post-capitalist order? How can such a transition take place? With which cultures, which institutions, which technologies?
Through the briefly outlined path, the issue of ‘Polemos’ Neoliberal Globalisation and its Crisis aims to focus on a crucial problem of the present. Analysing the general logic and the concrete and particular junctures of an abstraction that is perhaps heuristically useful, albeit at first approximate level, an attempt will be made to interrogate the current form of the world-system, obviously without any pretension of providing an exhaustive picture or even less of offering a totalising interpretative key. (more…)