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Introduction: Language, Social Order, and Neoliberal Violence

  • Vicente BerdayesEmail author
  • John W. Murphy
Chapter
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)

Abstract

This book examines neoliberal economics as a form of violent radicalism. The orienting framework is a focus on neoliberalism as a discourse whose assumptions and influence on contemporary institutions normalize violence. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the term “radicalism” has become a signifier of global terrorism. For a variety of commentators, terrorism can only be understood in reference to violent acts that remain unthinkable to normal human beings. Yet, the violence associated with overtly political or religious extremism is only a small component of contemporary violence. In their everyday lives, people are subjected to routine, widespread, and equally radical violence associated with the economic theses of neoliberalism. Understood as the complete reorganization of social existence in pursuit of narrow economic interests, neoliberalism normalizes ideas and behavior that would appear obscene outside of an economistic frame of reference. The antisocial imagery propagated by this market-based extremism, for example, vindicates the existence of profound social inequalities that consign billions of people to supposedly deserved squalor. Yet, such ideas often pass as unquestioned verities among elite decision-makers, theorists, and commentators and indeed can be brought up for discussion as if their catastrophic impact on the world’s peoples were only abstract policy issues. Even more striking, some of those most hurt by neoliberal policies, for instance, working-class people whose unionized jobs once guaranteed them stable, middle-class lifestyles, are sometimes the most vociferous champions of economic extremism, interpreting such policies as expressions of “freedom” and “liberty.”

Keywords

Neoliberalism Violence Alienation Economism The market Community 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationBarry UniversityMiami ShoresUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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