1st Edition

Paradoxes of Neoliberalism Sex, Gender and Possibilities for Justice

Edited By Elizabeth Bernstein, Janet R Jakobsen Copyright 2022
    210 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    From the rise of far-right regimes to the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent years have brought global upheaval as well as the sedimentation of longstanding social inequalities. Analyzing the complexities of the current political moment in different geographic regions, this book addresses the paradoxical persistence of neoliberal policies and practices, in order to ground the pursuit of a more just world.

    Engaging theories of decoloniality, racial capitalism, queer materialism, and social reproduction, this book demonstrates the centrality of sexual politics to neoliberalism, including both social relations and statecraft. Drawing on ethnographic case studies, the authors show that gender and sexuality may be the site for policies like those pertaining to sex trafficking, which bundle together economics and changes to the structure of the state. In other instances, sexual politics are crucial components of policies on issues ranging from the growth of financial services to migration.

    Tracing the role of sexual politics across different localities and through different political domains, this book delineates the paradoxical assemblage that makes up contemporary neoliberal hegemony. In addition to exploring contemporary social relations of neoliberal governance, exploitation, domination, and exclusion, the authors also consider gender and sexuality as forces that have shaped myriad forms of community-based activism and resistance, including local efforts to pursue new forms of social change. By tracing neoliberal paradoxes across global sites, the book delineates the multiple dimensions of economic and cultural restructuring that have characterized neoliberal regimes and emergent activist responses to them.

    This innovative analysis of the relationship between gender justice and political economy will appeal to: interdisciplinary scholars in social and cultural studies; legal and political theorists; and the wide range of readers who are concerned with contemporary questions of social justice.

    1. Introduction: Gender, Justice, and the Paradoxical Persistence of Neoliberal Times (Elizabeth Bernstein and Janet R. Jakobsen)  2. Gender Justice & Economic Justice: Production, Reproduction, and Survival (Janet R. Jakobsen, Mark Padilla and Maja Horn)  3. Neoliberal Vulnerability and the Vulnerability of Neoliberalism (Kerwin Kaye, Ana Amuchástegui, Abosede George and Tami Navarro)  4. The Productive Incoherence of “Sex Trafficking” (Elizabeth Bernstein, Sealing Cheng, Sine Plambech and Mario Pecheny)  5. Borders and Boundaries: Thinking Migration, Sexuality, and Precarity in a Neoliberal Age (Sine Plambech, Mark Padilla, Sealing Cheng, Svati Shah)  6. Political Power and Practices of Resistance (Mario Pecheny, Janet R. Jakobsen, Ana Amuchástegui, Maja Horn)



    The authors are all part of the Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations Project at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA.

    Paradoxes of Neoliberalism steps boldly into the treacherous terrain of neoliberal economics in its varied settings. The authors consider both transnational geopolitics and local policies to provide lucid accounts of how visions of justice and emancipation are made actionable. To this end, they describe persistent dynamics of gendered humanitarian rescue and proactive state intervention, in which vulnerability and precarity are discursively intertwined. What emerges is a volatile matrix of class, racial, and gender tensions alongside a punitive moralism that more often than not tacitly turns reparation into regulation.

    Josephine Ho, Center for the Study of Sexualities, Central University, Taiwan

    This landmark collaboration unites some of the most brilliant insights and bold voices of queer materialism, left intersectional analysis, and transnational feminism. Offering a unique blend of academia and activism, and voices from four continents, this book reveals how “sex” works to both mystify and manifest the radical ambivalences and jarring crises of 21st-century capitalism. How can transnational feminism and queer radicalism seek justice without giving license to the prerogatives of regulatory security states, disciplinary fiscal regimes, or narrowing nationalisms? In this collection, a transformative conversation emerges that will engage readers and stimulate generative debates among students, activists, and members of the public.

    Paul Amar, Professor of Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara

    This enlightening book is a vital tool for activists and a must-read for academics concerned with cultural and political change. Bernstein and Jakobsen have brought together a collection of insightful authors for a timely, collaborative effort. Together, they delve into the practical consequences of neoliberalism´s moralism and punitivism. Their grounded vision of how sex and gender relations foster injustice and, at the same time, how attending to those same sex and gender issues can contribute to justice is carefully researched and calls into question prevailing narratives around sexual violence, domestic work, and a host of other issues.

    Marta Lamas, Center for Research and Studies on Gender, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

    This ambitious, wide-ranging, collaborative research project maps practices of gendered and racialized labor, sex work, and migration across the globe under neoliberal conditions of precarity. What they find are the paradoxes, ambivalences and contradictions that mark our political present. And crucially, they also brightly illuminate the work social justice advocates have before us.

    Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University