Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ladie's Night

"Post-politics thus begins from the premise of consensus and cooperation.  Real antagonism or dissent is foreclosed.  Matters previously thought to require debate and struggle are now addressed as personal issues or technical concerns.  We might think of the ways that the expert discourses of psychology and sociology provide explanations for anger and resentment, in effect treating them as syndromes to be managed rather than as issues to be politicized.  Or we might think of the probabilities, measures, and assessments characteristic of contemporary risk management.  The problem is that all this tolerance and attunement to difference and emphasis on hearing another’s pain prevent politicization.  Matters aren’t represented—they don’t stand for something beyond themselves. They are simply treated in all their particularity, as specific issues to be addressed therapeutically, juridically, spectacularly, or disciplinarily rather than being treated as elements of larger signifying chains or political formations."
-Jodi Dean

“As neoliberalism converts every political or social problem into market terms, it converts them to individual problems with market solutions. Examples in the United States are legion: bottled water as a response to contamination of the water table; private schools, charter schools, and voucher systems as a response to the collapse of quality public education; anti-theft devices, private security guards, and gated communities (and nations) as a response to the production of a throwaway class and intensifying economic inequality; boutique medicine as a response to crumbling health care provision; “V-chips” as a response to the explosion of violent and pornographic material on every type of household screen; ergonomic tools and technologies as a response to the work conditions of information capitalism; and, of course, finely differentiated and titrated pharmaceutical antidepressants as a response to lives of meaninglessness or despair amidst wealth and freedom. This conversion of socially, economically, and politically produced problems into consumer items depoliticizes what has been historically produced, and it especially depoliticizes capitalism itself. Moreover, as neoliberal political rationality devolves both political problems and solutions from public to private, it further dissipates political or public life: the project of navigating the social becomes entirely one of discerning, affording, and procuring a personal solution to every socially produced problem. This is depoliticization on an unprecedented level: the economy is tailored to it, citizenship is organized by it, the media are dominated by it, and the political rationality of neoliberalism frames and endorses it.”
-Wendy Brown