A threadbare democracy
in Neoliberal lives
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Politics – the collective struggles in which we engage to define, shape, challenge, and reproduce our social reality – is an essential aspect of living a full, flourishing life. This chapter chronicles the ways in which the political life of people living under neoliberalism has been diminished, arguing that the US political system has increasingly incorporated a threadbare neoliberal understanding of democracy at the expense of the democratic equality of citizens. The chapter first looks at the many and various ways in which the business class have worked to firewall politics off from the electoral process. The vote, the chapter argues, has become ever more distant from democratic power, weakened through financing, the power of lobbies, the privatization and fragmentation of media, disenfranchisement, and the redefinition of political subjectivity and the legitimate functions of the state. However, the chapter also moves on to explain the implications of neoliberalism for working-class politics, advancing an account of why neoliberal policies, which seem to harm the working class, resonate strongly with some workers.

Neoliberal lives

Work, politics, nature, and health in the contemporary United States


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