The Complex Hegemony of Neoliberalism

  • Alex WilliamsEmail author
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)


This chapter uses a theory of complex hegemony to understand how neoliberalism within the United Kingdom was able to survive after the 2007–2008 financial crisis. It first addresses the question of how to reconcile ‘embedded’ and ‘networked’ explanations for neoliberalism’s persistence post-2008, using complex hegemony as an explanatory framework that bridges the two. Secondly, it explores in detail the hegemonic dynamics of austerity, as the major ideological and policy innovation of the post-crisis era within the context of British neoliberalism. Third, it addresses an under-researched element of responses to the durability question to date: the issue of the debility of alternatives to neoliberalism. Fourth, it sets out the ways in which neoliberal hegemony has utilised complexity, in discursive and productive terms, to embed itself and further disable its opponents. Finally, it examines the faultlines which are fast emerging to present post-crisis neoliberalism with fresh challenges in the post 2016 era. It concludes that the roots of the apparent new crisis in neoliberalism are in both the inherently unstable nature of any political hegemony and as arising from the specific strategies and tactics adopted to resolve the challenges of the 2008 crisis.


Neoliberalism Hegemony Complexity Financial crisis 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication StudiesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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