Inter-Asian Connections IV Workshop -- "After Neoliberalism?" The Future of Postneoliberal State and Society in Asia
Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations and European Studies
Central European University
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Johns Hopkins University
Lerna K. Yanik
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration
Kadir Has University
Call for Workshop Papers
“Postneoliberalism” or “after neoliberalism” is a term associated with forms of governance that emerged in the mid-late 1990s with the Third Way and social investment states in the UK, Canada, and Aotearoa/New Zealand and in some of the Latin American countries – such as Brazil under and after Lula -- that started looking for alternatives beyond the neoliberal one as result of the unfulfilled promises and incompatibility of neoliberalism in non-Western settings. Neoliberalism establishes fundamental connections between economic rationality and socio-political life and despite the fact that it promotes non-intervention into market mechanisms, it is concerned with the governance of individuals from a distance. However, there has been no strict definition of what postneoliberalism is except that postneoliberal projects of governance seek to retain elements of the previous export-led growth model and combine it with social-democratic welfare policies and that post-neoliberalism is considered a “detachment” from the principles of neoliberalism, leading to the emergence of “policies and ideas linked to the left rather than to the right.” We regard this conceptual haziness in the formulation of postneoliberalism as an opportunity to rethink possible alternatives to neoliberalism.
In this workshop, our first goal is to seek papers that will exposit this amalgam of forms of postneoliberalism and the emergent postneoliberal state, which have already started to develop in Latin America and elsewhere, and to understand and to theorize what postneoliberalism entails in states and societies across Asia.
Our second objective is to elaborate on the emerging “governmentality (ies)” as a result of this transition from neoliberalism to postneoliberalism, or to the variants of postneoliberalism, to be more correct. With basic tenets of neoliberalism being in question and various attempts to move beyond neoliberalism still being debated, we are curious to find out whether these governmentalities are also being left behind, or are they morphing into some other form? What happens to welfare politics? What happens to cities, urban transformation, or to gentrification in big cities? How do the developmental states or paternalistic authoritarian states in Asia transform amidst the global shift from neoliberalism to postneoliberalism? Does the shift enlarge or reduce spaces of democratic changes? Does it strengthen or weaken the region’s link to the US hegemony? Can we talk about the reversal of the neo-liberalization of education, most specifically higher education? Or, alternatively, could it be that governmentality is an explanatory framework only applicable to Western liberal states and societies, and no such Foucaldian conception of governmenality can actually be applied to post neoliberal formations in Asia?
Third, we are interested in exploring the link between postneoliberalism and ethnic and religious pluralism in Asian societies. How do, for instance, various groups respond to this transition away from neoliberalism, especially given the fact that what is termed as postneoliberalism in Latin America has often been associated with the consequences of the push from indigenous people’s empowerment and involvement in local politics?
When tracing the life of the term in Asia, this very vague definition of postneoliberalism might be considered a challenge. But the variety of state, regime and society types combined with different economic development models across Asia, ranging from the developmental state to the very neoliberal state, presents us a better chance to define, or to redefine the term postneoliberal and the postneoliberal state, and thus to distinguish between different variants of postneoliberalism. To give several (possible) examples: can Russia with increased social spending due to resource boom on the one hand, and acceleration of statisim and renationalizations on the other, be counted as an example of a postneoliberal state? Can the Chinese government’s programs to raise workers’ wages and support agrarian development after 2005 effectively ameliorate the many social crises unleashed by unfettered neoliberalism in the 1990s, or are they no more than cosmetic improvements that will never be able to reverse the long march of neoliberalism in China? If these two countries are accepted as variants of postneoliberalism, how then does New Zealand, which has already received the postneoliberal title, stand out in comparison to the two? Asia, to sum up, might be a more fertile ground to explore the meaning of postneoliberalism and its implications. For this workshop, we define Asia to include the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia as well as Asia-Pacific and Asia’s connections that extend and flow well beyond Asia. We are, in other words, not only interested in “fixities,” but also in “flows” (political, economic and social) in and out of Asia that make and shape the postneoliberal state and society within and across Asia.
- Demarcating the line between postneoliberalism and neoliberalism
- The current economic crises and postneoliberalism
- Postneoliberalism and democratic politics
- Postneoliberalism and the US hegemony in Asia
- Postneoliberalism and postdevelopmental states
- Postneoliberalism and the state of various issues: poverty, poverty reduction, higher education, cities, arts, media etc.