1st Edition

Brains, Media and Politics Generating Neoliberal Subjects

By Rodolfo Leyva Copyright 2020
    216 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Following the 2007–2008 global financial crisis, a number of prominent academics, journalists, and activists were quick to pronounce the demise of neoliberal capitalism and governance. This rather optimistic prediction, however, underestimated the extent to which neoliberalism has shaped the 21st-century world order and become entrenched in our sociopolitical and cognitive fabric. Indeed, 11 years after the crisis, and in spite of the significant levels of socioeconomic inequality, psychological distress, and environmental destruction generated by neoliberal policies and corresponding business and cultural practices, the ideological hegemony of neoliberalism has not been supplanted, nor has it really faced any serious unsettling. How, then, has neoliberalism inflected and shaped our “common-sense” understandings of what is politically, economically, and culturally viable? To help answer this question, this book combines leading theories from sociology, media-communication research, developmental psychology, and cognitive science, and draws on primary evidence from a unique mix of ethnographic, survey, and experimental studies – of young people’s leisure practices and educational experiences, of young adults’ political socialisation processes in relation to exposure to social networking sites, and of the effects of commercial media viewing on material values and support for social welfare. In doing so, it provides a nuanced and robustly empirically tested account of how the conscious and non-conscious cognitive dimensions of people’s subjectivities and everyday social practices become interpellated through and reproductive of neoliberal ideology. As such, this book will appeal to scholars across the social and behavioural sciences with interests in neoliberalism, political engagement, enculturation, social reproduction, and media effects.


    1. Homo Economicus & The Neoliberal Society

    2. Neoliberal Cognition, Subjectification, & Reproduction

    3. Reproducing Neoliberalism in Everyday Life: A Cross-National Ethnographic Study

    4. How New Media Help Generate Neoliberal Subjectivities: A Survey Study

    5. Experimental Insights into Mass Media’s Cultivation of A Neoliberal Habitus

    6. A Cognitive-Sociological Theory of Neoliberal Reproduction


    Rodolfo Leyva is a fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.

    "Rudy Leyva shows, in a model of cumulative scholarship, that watching programmes glorifying materialism and the rich makes people more selfish, less critical of inequality, more punitive in their attitudes to welfare and less concerned with hyper-consumption. A fearless, crucially important and scary book - lucid and engagingly written too." - Ian Gough, Visiting Professor, CASE, LSE, UK; author of Heat, Greed and Human Need.