Friday, July 10, 2009

Human Seuciry and Neo-Liberalism

Professor Modjtaba Sadria participated in a workshop series titled, ‘Critical Geographies of Security’ at Bristol University on 3 June 2009.

Organised by the Critical States of Security Network within the Department of Politics, the particular workshop was entitled Beyond Neo-liberalism? South-South Realignments and New Agendas for Political Research: Brazil, Iran, Russia, India, Dubai, China, Vietnam.

Sadria’s paper looked at the rise of neo-liberalism, its strengths and the weaknesses of the theories that criticise neo-liberalism.

“In the last quarter of the 20th century the concept of soft power came to be an important tool of analysis, at least for some quarters of international studies.”

To illustrate his argument, Sadria introduced an analogy from the concept of soft power to describe neo-liberalism.

“Of all forms of hegemony, neo-liberalism could be thought of as the most sophisticated, coherent, strategic form of soft violence against the possibility of living together peacefully within each and every society in the world.”

Questions raised at the workshop asked whether neo-liberalism could still be seen as a useful unit for critical global and comparative analysis, in the wake of unanimous anti-marketism of the recent G20 summit, massive shifts in human-security and development doctrines, the rise of new forms of populist anti-market politics, and game-changing elections in India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Latin America.

In addition, participants also considered the debate that a comparative analysis of political transformation and assertion outside the US/EU could be more helpful than using neo-liberalism to assess new patterns of geopolitical alignment, political-cultural subjectivity, or political-economic structures.

The workshop drew upon the scholarship of researchers who have conducted work on subjects such as state, law and political culture, in a way that is sensitive to gender, sexuality, ethnicisation, and racialisation. From this, the workshop seeks to build a set of questions and research trajectories.

External Links*

* Critical States of Security Network (Bristol University)