Neoconservatism, bohemia and the moral economy of neoliberalism

Hancock, David (2015) Neoconservatism, bohemia and the moral economy of neoliberalism. Journal for Cultural Research, 20 (2). pp. 1-21. ISSN 1479-7585

Text (Article text)
Hancock, David Neoconservatism, Bohemia and the Moral Economy of Neoliberalism.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (259kB) | Preview


This paper is concerned with the moral economy of neoliberalism. The goal is to show the development of this moral economy through the discourse of neoconservatism. The research pays particular attention to the incorporation of aspects of bohemia in the construction of this moral economy. The paper charts the development of the neoconservative moral critique of political modernity in the second half of the twentieth century by drawing on the leading neoconservative figures, Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol. The first part of this research makes clear the homology between the neoconservative critique of bohemia and excessive capitalism, where both are accused of nihilism as part of the moral abyss of liberal modernity. The second part of this research shows how, through the work of George Gilder, neoconservatives re-imagined a moral economy for capitalism that overcame the apparent nihilism whilst retaining the unrestrained nature of accumulation. Through a celebration of the heroic entrepreneur, neoliberalism’s moral economy is based upon a celebration of risk, an embrace of chance and an overturning of bourgeois morality. Neoliberalism incorporates the bohemian critique of bourgeois capitalism into a critique of the social democratic welfare state which, by prioritising safety over pleasure and excess, is deemed to be both incapable of offering spiritual satisfaction as well as being ill suited to a post-Fordist economy. The flexible nature of bohemia that rebelled against organised strictures of bourgeois morality and Fordist organisation is welcomed by the neoliberal turn. The spiritual satisfaction of life on the edge offered to the neoliberal subject acts as a form seduction and mirrors the creative freedom offered through bohemia. Neoliberalism’s gift, however, comes at a price, the edgy existence is coupled with removal of social safety nets and increasing insecurity and precariatisation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Neoconservatism, Neoliberalism, Bohemia, George Gilder, Risk
Divisions: ?? BucksNewUniversity ??
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2015 20:55
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 19:17

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item