Understanding (Neo)liberalism: The Relationship Between the Liberal State and Free Market Capitalism

  • Alen Toplišek
Part of the The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy book series (PSTCD)


This chapter constructs a critical political economy approach through which the author analyses the impact liberalism has had on structuring the role of the state in Western market economies in the nineteenth century and after the 1970s. Through Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality, the author traces the development of liberalism and the key transformations of the state, ultimately leading to its crises. Karl Polanyi’s theory of the dynamics between liberal elites and the social counter-movement is then employed to account for the emergence of alternative governmentalities that protect the ordinary people from the deleterious effects of market liberalisation. The author argues that this novel theoretical approach can provide insights for the contemporary crisis of liberal democracy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alen Toplišek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Politics and International StudiesSOAS University of LondonLondonUK

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