In the third and final video abstract from Antipode 45(5) – the first and second are here and here – Clark University’s John Lauermann and Mark Davidson tell us about their paper ‘Negotiating Particularity in Neoliberalism Studies: Tracing Development Strategies Across Neoliberal Urban Governance Projects‘.
John and Mark’s entry point is those critical perspectives on neoliberalism that suggest it’s ‘dead but dominant’, a revanchist zombie that appears ubiquitous despite its inherent idiosyncrasy. They argue that neoliberalism’s paradoxical death, dominance, and retrenchment can be interpreted by analyzing the dialectic of universalizing processes and particular forms within capitalism. Neoliberal projects draw political import from systemic, universalizing tendencies in capitalism, particularly those ideological processes by which contradictions and crises come to be discursively, institutionally, and politically conceptualized within the same paradigm from which they emerged.
Building on well-developed research frameworks in neoliberalism studies, John and Mark propose a set of analytical tools to interpret links between particular projects and homogenizing practices. They illustrate this with a case study of urban ‘megaevents’ (such as Olympic Games or World Cup), demonstrating how ideological commitments to event-based development strategies allow both the homogenizing imposition of entrepreneurial urban policy, and localized innovations in urban governance.
For more on neoliberalism and megaevents see the special issue edited by Neil Brenner and Nik Theodore, ‘Spaces of Neoliberalism‘ and last year’s virtual issue published in the wake of the London Olympics.