Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 65

Search results for: neoliberal postfeminism

65 Gynocentrism and Self-Orientalization: A Visual Trend in Chinese Fashion Photography

Authors: Zhen Sun


The study adopts the method of visual social semiotics to analyze a sample of fashion photos that were recently published in Chinese fashion magazines that target towards both male and female readers. It identifies a new visual trend in fashion photography, which is characterized by two features. First, the photos represent young, confident, and stylish female models with lower-class sloppy old men. The visual inharmony between the sexually desirable women and the aged men has suggested an impossibly accomplished sexuality and eroticism. Though the women are still under the male gaze, they are depicted as unreachable objects of voyeurism other than sexual objects subordinated to men. Second, the represented people are usually put in the backdrop of tasteless or vulgar Chinese town life, which is congruent with the images of men but makes the modern city girls out of place. The photographers intentionally contrast the images of women with that of men and with the background, which implies an imaginary binary division of modern Orientalism and the photographers’ self-orientalization strategy. Under the theoretical umbrella of neoliberal postfeminism, this study defines a new kind of gynocentric stereotype in Chinese fashion photography, which challenges the previous observations on gender portrayals in fashion magazines.

Keywords: fashion photography, gynocentrism, neoliberal postfeminism, self-orientalization

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64 Neoliberal Policies and International Organizations: The OECD and Higher Education Policy

Authors: Ellen Holtmaat


With an ever increasing influence of international organizations (IOs) on national policies and with the expectation that IOs are the transmission belts of world ideologies it is interesting to see to what extent IOs express a specific ideology and what determines the dominance of this ideology. This thesis looks at the OECD as IO and higher education as a field of policy. Evidence is found that the OECD promotes neoliberal developments in higher education and that its position is influenced by business, dominant countries and the dominant beliefs that are carried by the people working for the OECD that form an epistemic community. These results can possibly be extrapolated to other IOs.

Keywords: higher education, international organizations, neoliberal, OECD

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63 Contradictive Representation of Women in Postfeminist Japanese Media

Authors: Emiko Suzuki


Although some claim that we are in a post-feminist society, the word “postfeminism” still raises questions to many. In postfeminist media, as a British sociologist Rosalind Gill points out, on the one hand, it seems to promote an empowering image of women who are active, positively sexually motivated, has free will to make market choices, and have surveillance and discipline for their personality and body, yet on the other hand, such beautiful and attractive feminist image imposes stronger surveillance of their mind and body for women. Similar representation, which is that femininity is described in a contradictive way, is seen in Japanese media as well. This study tries to capture how post-feminist Japanese media is, contrary to its ostensible messages, encouraging women to join the obedience to the labor system by affirming the traditional image of attractive women using sexual objectification and promoting values of neoliberalism. The result shows an interesting insight into how Japanese media is creating a conflicting ideal representation of women through repeatedly exposing such images.

Keywords: postfeminism, Japanese media, sexual objectification, embodiment

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62 Believing in a Just-World: The Neoliberal Rationality and the Everyday Legitimation of Social Inequality

Authors: Mónica Catarina Soares


Neoliberal rationality is currently changing the ways concepts like freedom or equality are framed. As an omnipresent and context-sensitive paradigm, homo oeconomicus is continuously taking place in realms of life previously insulated from economic and market-driven principles. This presentation is based on the argument that, more than ever, this paradigm is nowadays framing institutional and everyday discourses in regard to social problems. Although neoliberal rationality is based on the putative ideological basis that everyone is equal, equality seems to be reshaped by specific meanings apprehended by this rationality. In this sense, an illusion of equality seems to be relevant to legitimize different social inequalities (e.g., access to health care or to habitation). Political psychology has studied how ideology is relevant to legitimize market and unequal systems, but still the specific relation between markets, (in)equality and neoliberal languages is not widely addressed. The goal is to discuss the smithereens of the neoliberal rationality when it comes to legitimizing social inequalities by contesting the arguments of meritocracy, progressive freedom and minimal guarantees obeying to market-rules and principles. This analysis can be helpful to grasp for instance the continuously dismantlement of the welfare-state in different countries of the global north and how it is turning the regulation/emancipation tension inside out. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the breaking up of a paradigm that is still too big to capture, too depoliticized and chameleonic to fully acknowledge the biopolitics of power that is helping to create it.

Keywords: discourses, legitimacy, neoliberal rationality, social inequality

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61 The Neoliberal Social-Economic Development and Values in the Baltic States

Authors: Daiva Skuciene


The Baltic States turned to free market and capitalism after independency. The new socioeconomic system, democracy and priorities about the welfare of citizens formed. The researches show that Baltic states choose the neoliberal development. Related to this neoliberal path, a few questions arouse: how do people evaluate the results of such policy and socioeconomic development? What are their priorities? And what are the values of the Baltic societies that support neoliberal policy? The purpose of this research – to analyze the socioeconomic context and the priorities and the values of the Baltics societies related to neoliberal regime. The main objectives are: firstly, to analyze the neoliberal socioeconomic features and results; secondly, to analyze people opinions and priorities about the results of neoliberal development; thirdly, to analyze the values of the Baltic societies related to the neoliberal policy. For the implementation of the purpose and objectives, the comparative analyses among European countries are used. The neoliberal regime was defined through two indicators: the taxes on capital income and expenditures on social protection. The socioeconomic outcomes of neoliberal welfare regime are defined through the Gini inequality and at risk of the poverty rate. For this analysis, the data of 2002-2013 of Eurostat were used. For the analyses of opinion about inequality and preferences on society, people want to live in, the preferences for distribution between capital and wages in enterprise data of Eurobarometer in 2010-2014 and the data of representative survey in the Baltic States in 2016 were used. The justice variable was selected as a variable reflecting the evaluation of socioeconomic context and analyzed using data of Eurobarometer 2006-2015. For the analyses of values were selected: solidarity, equality, and individual responsibility. The solidarity, equality was analyzed using data of Eurobarometer 2006-2015. The value “individual responsibility” was examined by opinions about reasons of inequality and poverty. The survey of population in the Baltic States in 2016 and data of Eurobarometer were used for this aim. The data are ranged in descending order for understanding the position of opinion of people in the Baltic States among European countries. The dynamics of indicators is also provided to examine stability of values. The main findings of the research are that people in the Baltics are dissatisfied with the results of the neoliberal socioeconomic development, they have priorities for equality and justice, but they have internalized the main neoliberal narrative- individual responsibility. The impact of socioeconomic context on values is huge, resulting in a change in quite stable opinions and values during the period of the financial crisis.

Keywords: neoliberal, inequality and poverty, solidarity, individual responsibility

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60 The Capabilities Approach as a Future Alternative to Neoliberal Higher Education in the MENA Region

Authors: Ranya Elkhayat


This paper aims at offering a futures study for higher education in the Middle East. Paying special attention to the negative impacts of neoliberalism, the paper will demonstrate how higher education is now commodified, corporatized and how arts and humanities are eschewed in favor of science and technology. This conceptual paper argues against the neoliberal agenda and aims at providing an alternative exemplified in the Capabilities Approach with special reference to Martha Nussbaum’s theory. The paper is divided into four main parts: the current state of higher education under neoliberal values, a prediction of the conditions of higher education in the near future, the future of higher education using the theoretical framework of the Capabilities Approach, and finally, some areas of concern regarding the approach. The implications of the study demonstrate that Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach will ensure that the values of education are preserved while avoiding the pitfalls of neoliberalism.

Keywords: capabilities approach, education future, higher education, MENA

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59 Economic Neoliberalism: Property Right and Redistribution Policy

Authors: Aleksandar Savanović


In this paper we will analyze the relationship between the neo-liberal concept of property rights and redistribution policy. This issue is back in the focus of interest due to the crisis 2008. The crisis has reaffirmed the influence of the state on the free-market processes. The interference of the state with property relations re-opened a classical question: is it legitimate to redistribute resources of a man in favor of another man with taxes? The dominant view is that the neoliberal philosophy of natural rights is incompatible with redistributive measures. In principle, this view can be accepted. However, when we look into the details of the theory of natural rights proposed by some coryphaei of neoliberal philosophy, such as Hayek, Nozick, Buchanan and Rothbard, we can see that it is not such an unequivocal view.

Keywords: economic neoliberalism, natural law, property, redistribution

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58 Administrative Reform and the Changing Nature of Higher Education: A Lesson from Indonesian Higher Education Reforms

Authors: Nurdiana Gaus, Mahmud Tang


This paper analyses changes being experienced by academics in Indonesian state university systems as a result of government-driven policy and the impacts of these changes on academics work and organisations. This analysis is located in the main concept of neoliberal agenda with its associated discourse of New Public Management. The purpose of this analysis is to show how public administrative reforms adopting neoliberal agenda have been disseminated in Indonesian higher education reform via policies and programmes of the government. This essay is expected to clarify the concept of neoliberalism in the administrative reforms within higher education institutions by examining and understanding its implementation in Indonesian context and how this impacted on the structural changes in universities and academics work.

Keywords: neoliberalism, higher education, Indonesia, new public management

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57 Embodied Neoliberalism and the Mind as Tool to Manage the Body: A Descriptive Study Applied to Young Australian Amateur Athletes

Authors: Alicia Ettlin


Amid the rise of neoliberalism to the leading economic policy model in Western societies in the 1980s, people have started to internalise a neoliberal way of thinking, whereby the human body has become an entity that can and needs to be precisely managed through free yet rational decision-making processes. The neoliberal citizen has consequently become an entrepreneur of the self who is free, independent, rational, productive and responsible for themselves, their health and wellbeing as well as their appearance. The focus on individuals as entrepreneurs who manage their bodies through the rationally thinking mind has, however, become increasingly criticised for viewing the social actor as ‘disembodied’, as a detached, social actor whose powerful mind governs over the passive body. On the other hand, the discourse around embodiment seeks to connect rational decision-making processes to the dominant neoliberal discourse which creates an embodied understanding that the body, just as other areas of people’s lives, can and should be shaped, monitored and managed through cognitive and rational thinking. This perspective offers an understanding of the body regarding its connections with the social environment that reaches beyond the debates around mind-body binary thinking. Hence, following this argument, body management should not be thought of as either solely guided by embodied discourses nor as merely falling into a mind-body dualism, but rather, simultaneously and inseparably as both at once. The descriptive, qualitative analysis of semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with young Australian amateur athletes between the age of 18 and 24 has shown that most participants are interested in measuring and managing their body to create self-knowledge and self-improvement. The participants thereby connected self-improvement to weight loss, muscle gain or simply staying fit and healthy. Self-knowledge refers to body measurements including weight, BMI or body fat percentage. Self-management and self-knowledge that are reliant on one another to take rational and well-thought-out decisions, are both characteristic values of the neoliberal doctrine. A neoliberal way of thinking and looking after the body has also by many been connected to rewarding themselves for their discipline, hard work or achievement of specific body management goals (e.g. eating chocolate for reaching the daily step count goal). A few participants, however, have shown resistance against these neoliberal values, and in particular, against the precise monitoring and management of the body with the help of self-tracking devices. Ultimately, however, it seems that most participants have internalised the dominant discourses around self-responsibility, and by association, a sense of duty to discipline their body in normative ways. Even those who have indicated their resistance against body work and body management practices that follow neoliberal thinking and measurement systems, are aware and have internalised the concept of the rational operating mind that needs or should decide how to look after the body in terms of health but also appearance ideals. The discussion around the collected data thereby shows that embodiment and the mind/body dualism constitute two connected, rather than two separate or opposing concepts.

Keywords: dualism, embodiment, mind, neoliberalism

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56 The Russian-Ukrainian Conflict: An Imperial, Neoliberal Limbo

Authors: Anna Savchenko


The dissolution of the Soviet Union brought about a wave of decolonisation throughout the Soviet space in the 1990s. While this emancipation ushered in an era of reform in the newly independent states, it also opened up the opportunity for countries such as Ukraine to be (re)colonised by a different ruling power: the European Union. Ukraine’s relationship with the EU has been further complicated by the fact that the country’s political leadership has aligned itself with a Western agenda of democratisation. This article challenges the neoliberal belief that the global market can spurn democratisation by analysing the way in which market privatisation in Ukraine has allowed for mass corruption to flourish. I submit that neoliberalism, or the sheer force of the global market, is just as colonising as modern-day imperialism has proven to be by providing an analytical synthesis of Russia and Ukraine’s century-old conflict. The EU’s demonstrated inability to mediate cross-border conflict in the region foreshadows that Ukraine may have been economically colonised by another failing state.

Keywords: neoliberalism, imperealism, Russian-Ukrainian conflict, democratisation, colonisation

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55 Disaster Capitalism, Charter Schools, and the Reproduction of Inequality in Poor, Disabled Students: An Ethnographic Case Study

Authors: Sylvia Mac


This ethnographic case study examines disaster capitalism, neoliberal market-based school reforms, and disability through the lens of Disability Studies in Education. More specifically, it explores neoliberalism and special education at a small, urban charter school in a large city in California and the (re)production of social inequality. The study uses Sociology of Special Education to examine the ways in which special education is used to sort and stratify disabled students. At a time when rhetoric surrounding public schools is framed in catastrophic and dismal language in order to justify the privatization of public education, small urban charter schools must be examined to learn if they are living up to their promise or acting as another way to maintain economic and racial segregation. The study concludes that neoliberal contexts threaten successful inclusive education and normalize poor, disabled students’ continued low achievement and poor post-secondary outcomes. This ethnographic case study took place at a small urban charter school in a large city in California. Participants included three special education students, the special education teacher, the special education assistant, a regular education teacher, and the two founders and charter writers. The school claimed to have a push-in model of special education where all special education students were fully included in the general education classroom. Although presented as fully inclusive, some special education students also attended a pull-out class called Study Skills. The study found that inclusion and neoliberalism are differing ideologies that cannot co-exist. Successful inclusive environments cannot thrive while under the influences of neoliberal education policies such as efficiency and cost-cutting. Additionally, the push for students to join the global knowledge economy means that more and more low attainers are further marginalized and kept in poverty. At this school, neoliberal ideology eclipsed the promise of inclusive education for special education students. This case study has shown the need for inclusive education to be interrogated through lenses that consider macro factors, such as neoliberal ideology in public education, as well as the emerging global knowledge economy and increasing income inequality. Barriers to inclusion inside the school, such as teachers’ attitudes, teacher preparedness, and school infrastructure paint only part of the picture. Inclusive education is also threatened by neoliberal ideology that shifts the responsibility from the state to the individual. This ideology is dangerous because it reifies the stereotypes of disabled students as lazy, needs drains on already dwindling budgets. If these stereotypes persist, inclusive education will have a difficult time succeeding. In order to more fully examine the ways in which inclusive education can become truly emancipatory, we need more analysis on the relationship between neoliberalism, disability, and special education.

Keywords: case study, disaster capitalism, inclusive education, neoliberalism

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54 Postfeminism, Femvertising and Inclusion: An Analysis of Changing Women's Representation in Contemporary Media

Authors: Saveria Capecchi


In this paper, the results of qualitative content research on postfeminist female representation in contemporary Western media (advertising, television series, films, social media) are presented. Female role models spectacularized in media culture are an important part of the development of social identities and could inspire new generations. Postfeminist cultural texts have given rise to heated debate between gender and media studies scholars. There are those who claim they are commercial products seeking to sell feminism to women, a feminism whose political and subversive role is completely distorted and linked to the commercial interests of the cosmetics, fashion, fitness and cosmetic surgery industries, in which women’s ‘power’ lies mainly in their power to seduce. There are those who consider them feminist manifestos because they represent independent ‘modern women’ free from male control who aspire to achieve professionally and overcome gender stereotypes like that of the ‘housewife-mother’. Major findings of the research show that feminist principles have been gradually absorbed by the cultural industry and adapted to its commercial needs, resulting in the dissemination of contradictory values. On the one hand, in line with feminist arguments, patriarchal ideology is condemned and the concepts of equality and equal opportunity between men and women are promoted. On the other hand, feminist principles and demands are ascribed to individualism, which translates into the slogan: women are free to decide for themselves, even to objectify their own bodies. In particular, it is observed that femvertising trend in media industry is changing female representation moving away from classic stereotypes: the feminine beauty ideal of slenderness, emphasized in the media since the seventies, is ultimately challenged by the ‘curvy’ body model, which is considered to be more inclusive and based on the concept of ‘natural beauty’. Another aspect of change is the ‘anti-romantic’ revolution performed by some heroines, who are not in search of Prince Charming, in television drama and in the film industry. In conclusion, although femvertising tends to simplify and trivialize the concepts characterizing fourth-wave feminism (‘intersectionality’ and ‘inclusion’), it is also a tendency that enables the challenging of media imagery largely based on male viewpoints, interests and desires.

Keywords: feminine beauty ideal, femvertising, gender and media, postfeminism

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53 The Eathquake Discourse as a Strategy of an Urban Renewal: A Case Study into the Karapınar Valley Regeneration Project in Eskişehir, Turkey

Authors: Cansu Civelek


The flexible and uneven character of neoliberalism has provided adaptation of urban strategies into the constantly changing circumstances in order to renew and reproduce the neoliberal accumulation model. Instrumentalization of catastrophic events to this end has been one of those global urban strategies. Regarding Turkey, exploitation of natural disasters has been the latest tactic of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government to achieve radical economic goals. ‘Unhealthy’ and ‘risky’ structures of squatter settlements have often been articulated while the regenerations, expropriations, and exclusions have been sugarcoated through the discourses of ‘reintegrating the shanty zones into the cities’, ‘supplying healthy housing’, and ‘win-win’ character of the projects. Being the first regeneration project of Eskişehir, the Karapınar Regeneration Project has been initiated in 2011 by the partnership of the Odunpazarı Municipality of the JDP and the Mass Housing Organization. Discourses around the forthcoming disasters, ‘risky structures’ of the squatters, and the importance of the ‘security of life and property’ have been utilized, even though the zone is situated on a geotechnically stable area. Yet, many of the locals are worried about the payments while some have already decided to move elsewhere at the outskirts of the city.

Keywords: neoliberal urbanism, urban regeneration, illegal settlements, discourses

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52 Neoliberal Settler City: Socio-Spatial Segregation, Livelihood of Artists/Craftsmen in Delhi

Authors: Sophy Joseph


The study uses the concept of ‘Settler city’ to understand the nature of peripheralization that a neoliberal city initiates. The settler city designs powerless communities without inherent rights, title and sovereignty. Kathputli Colony, home to generations of artists/craftsmen, who have kept heritage of arts/crafts alive, has undergone eviction of its population from urban space. The proposed study, ‘Neoliberal Settler City: Socio-spatial segregation and livelihood of artists/craftsmen in Delhi’ would problematize the settler city as a colonial technology. The colonial regime has ‘erased’ the ‘unwanted’ as primitive and swept them to peripheries in the city. This study would also highlight how structural change in political economy has undermined their crafts/arts by depriving them from practicing/performing it with dignity in urban space. The interconnections between citizenship and In-Situ Private Public Partnership in Kathputli rehabilitation has become part of academic exercise. However, a comprehensive study connecting inherent characteristics of neoliberal settler city, trajectory of political economy of unorganized workers - artists/craftsmen and legal containment and exclusion leading to dispossession and marginalization of communities from the city site, is relevant to contextualize the trauma of spatial segregation. This study would deal with political, cultural, social and economic dominant behavior of the structure in the state formation, accumulation of property and design of urban space, fueled by segregation of marginalized/unorganized communities and disowning the ‘footloose proletariat’, the migrant workforce. The methodology of study involves qualitative research amongst communities and the field work-oral testimonies and personal accounts- becomes the primary material to theorize the realities. The secondary materials in the forms of archival materials about historical evolution of Delhi as a planned city from various archives, would be used. As the study also adopt ‘narrative approach’ in qualitative study, the life experiences of craftsmen/artists as performers and emotional trauma of losing their livelihood and space forms an important record to understand the instability and insecurity that marginalization and development attributes on urban poor. The study attempts to prove that though there was a change in political tradition from colonialism to constitutional democracy, new state still follows the policy of segregation and dispossession of the communities. It is this dispossession from the space, deprivation of livelihood and non-consultative process in rehabilitation that reflects the neoliberal approach of the state and also critical findings in the study. This study would entail critical spatial lens analyzing ethnographic and sociological data, representational practices and development debates to understand ‘urban otherization’ against craftsmen/artists. This seeks to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the resistance of communities against primitivity attached with them and to decolonize the city. This would help to contextualize the demand for declaring Kathputli Colony as ‘heritage artists village’. The conceptualization and contextualization would help to argue for right to city of the communities, collective rights to property, services and self-determination. The aspirations of the communities also help to draw normative orientation towards decolonization. It is important to study this site as part of the framework, ‘inclusive cities’ because cities are rarely noted as important sites of ‘community struggles’.

Keywords: neoliberal settler city, socio-spatial segregation, the livelihood of artists/craftsmen, dispossession of indigenous communities, urban planning and cultural uprooting

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51 Valuing Academic Excellence in Higher Education: The Case of Establishing a Human Development Unit in a European Start-up University

Authors: Eleftheria Atta, Yianna Vovides, Marios Katsioloudes


In the fusion of neoliberalism and globalization, Higher Education (HE) is becoming increasingly complex. The changing patterns of the economy worldwide caused the development of high value-added economy HE has been viewed as a social investment, significant for the development of knowledge-based societies and economies. In order to contribute to economic competitiveness universities are required to produce local and employable workers in order to fit into the neoliberal economic environment. The emergence of neoliberal performativity, which measures outcomes, is a key aspect in a neoliberal era. It facilitates the redesign of institutions making organizations and individuals to think about themselves in relation to their performance. Performativity and performance management systems lead academics to become more effective, professionally advance, improve and become better than others and therefore act competitively. Besides the aforementioned complexities, universities also encounter the challenge of maintaining a set of values to guide an institution’s actions and which have always been highly respected in developing a HE institution. The formulation of a clear set of values also determines the institutional culture which will be maintained. It is evident that values create a significant framework for the workplace and may determine positive institutional results. Universities are required to engage in activities for capacity building which will improve their students’ competence as well as offer opportunities to administrative and academic staff to professionally develop in light of neoliberal performativity. Additionally, the University is now considered as an innovation ecosystem playing a significant role in providing education, research and innovation to help create solutions to meet social, environmental and economic challenges. Thus, Universities become central in orchestrating multi-actor innovation networks. This presentation will discuss the establishment of an institutional unit entitled ‘Human Development Unit’ (HDU) in a European start-up university. The activities of the HDU are envisioned as drivers for innovation that would enable the university as a whole to maintain its position in a fast-changing world and be ready to face adaptive challenges. In addition, the HDU provides its students, staff, and faculty with opportunities to advance their academic and professional development through engagement in programs that align with institutional values. It also serves as a connector with the broader community. The presentation will highlight the functions of three centers which the unit will coordinate namely, the Student Development Center (SDC), the Faculty & Staff Development Center (FSDC) and the Continuing Education Center (CEC). The presentation aligns with the aim of the conference as it welcomes presentations to discuss innovations and challenges encountered in HE. Particularly, this presentation seeks to discuss the establishment of an innovative unit at a start-up university which will contribute to creating an institutional culture shaped by the value of academic excellence for students as well as for staff, shaping and defining the functions and activities of the unit. The establishment of the proposed unit is crucial in a start-up university both to differentiate from other competitors but also to sustain its presence given the pressures in a neoliberal HE context.

Keywords: academic excellence, globalization, human development unit, neoliberalism

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50 Counter-Hegemonic Movements and Their Consequences at the International Level: Transposing Gramsci to the 21st Century

Authors: Hanna Corsini


This article provides an analysis of counter-hegemonic movements and their consequences for the neoliberal world order at the international level. Even if calls for change are becoming louder, current research on populist forces at the domestic level in comparative politics is lacking an investigation of the international dimensions of the rise of such movements. At the same time, in the International Relations field, the focus still remains on the surge of challengers at the global level, while the national one stays neglected. This paper argues that to fill this gap as identified in the academic literature, the concept of hegemony, and more precisely, as deployed by Antonio Gramsci, can bear some interesting insights. An adaptation to the 21st century of Gramsci’s concept is proposed, highlighting the explanatory power that key concepts of his theoretical framework have. Transposing it to contemporary politics provides precious elements for an in-depth understanding of counter-hegemonic movements and the consequences of their rise for the neoliberal world order. In an era of disruption and turmoil in national politics, International Relations theory cannot avoid to engage with this dimension. However, populism as a theoretical concept lacks the capacity to go beyond the domestic border. It is therefore essential to create a dialogue between these two fields. Ultimately, the paper claims that (counter-)hegemony is crucial to build a bridge between the international and the domestic level.

Keywords: counter-hegemonic movements, Gramsci, hegemony, international relations

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49 The Political Biographies of Social Workers: A Qualitative Study of the Political Lives of Social Workers

Authors: Hefin Gwilym


This paper will explore the political biographies of social workers in a neoliberal era. The findings are based on a research project for a successfully completed professional doctorate in social work. The methodology deployed for the research is a combination of constructivist grounded theory and biographical inquiry. The paper will present findings from 14 biographical interviews and will focus on one case study of a participant whose life story is richly informed by political social work. The 14 participants reflect different genders, ethnic identities, cultural and linguistic identities, age and length of social work careers. The participants also reflect different forms of political engagement, such as, as political activists and members of political parties, including parliamentarians. The findings demonstrate how deeply ingrained the social work identity is amongst the participants and how their political identity has remained strongly social democratic in nature despite the many changes in the social work profession since the rise of neoliberalism as a thought collective and policy package. The individual case study will explore the early roots of political identity in the childhood and nurturing years and the interface with subsequent social work and political careers. It will also explore the evolution of the participant’s political identity in the social work career. The case study will also present findings on how the participant has contributed to the political field with policy involvement and initiatives. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on how this particular group of social workers can best contribute to the future direction of the social work profession.

Keywords: political social work, political biographies, neoliberal, grounded theory

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48 Northern Istanbul Urban Infrastructure Projects: A Critical Account on the Environmental, Spatial, Social and Economical Impacts

Authors: Evren Aysev Denec


As an urban settlement dating as early as 8000 years and the capital for Byzantine and Ottoman empires; İstanbul has been a significant global city throughout history. The most drastic changes in the macro form of Istanbul have taken place in the last seven decades; starting from 1950’s with rapid industrialization and population growth; pacing up after the 1980’s with the efforts of integration to the global capitalist system; reaching to a climax in the 2000’s with the adaptation of a neoliberal urban regime. Today, the rate of urbanization together with land speculation and real estate investment has been growing enormously. Every inch of urban land is conceptualized as a commodity to be capitalized. This neoliberal mindset has many controversial implementations, from the privatization of public land to the urban transformation of historic neighbourhoods and consumption of natural resources. The planning decisions concerning the city have been mainly top down initiations; conceptualising historical, cultural and natural heritage as commodities to be capitalised and consumed in favour of creating rent value. One of the most crucial implementations of this neoliberal urban regime is the project of establishing a ‘new city’ around northern Istanbul; together with a number of large-scale infrastructural projects such as the Third Bosporus Bridge; a new highway system, a Third Airport Project and a secondary Bosporus project called the ‘Canal Istanbul’. Urbanizing northern Istanbul is highly controversial as this area consists of major natural resources of the city; being the northern forests, water supplies and wildlife; which are bound to be destroyed to a great extent following the implementations. The construction of the third bridge and the third airport has begun in 2013, despite environmental objections and protests. Over five hundred thousand trees are planned be cut for solely the construction of the bridge and the Northern Marmara Motorway. Yet the real damage will be the urbanization of the forest area; irreversibly corrupting the natural resources and attracting millions of additional population towards Istanbul. Furthermore, these projects lack an integrated planning scope as the plans prepared for Istanbul are constantly subjected to alterations forced by the central government. Urban interventions mentioned above are executed despite the rulings of Istanbul Environmental plan, due to top down planning decisions. Instead of an integrated action plan that prepares for the future of the city, Istanbul is governed by partial plans and projects that are issued by a profit based agenda; supported by legal alterations and laws issued by the central government. This paper aims to discuss the ongoing implementations with regards to northern Istanbul; claiming that they are not merely infrastructural interventions but parts of a greater neoliberal urbanization strategy. In the course of the study, firstly a brief account on the northern forests of Istanbul will be presented. Then, the projects will be discussed in detail, addressing how the current planning schemes deal with the natural heritage of the city. Lastly, concluding remarks on how the implementations could affect the future of Istanbul will be presented.

Keywords: Istanbul, urban design, urban planning, natural resources

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47 Bringing Feminist Critical Pedagogy to the ESP Higher Education Classes: Feasibility and Challenges

Authors: Samira Essabari


What, unfortunately, governs the Moroccan educational philosophy and policy today is a concerning neoliberal discourse with its obsession with market logics and individualism. Critical education has been advocated to resist the neoliberal hegemony since it holds the promise to reclaim the social function of education. Significantly, the mounting forms of sexism and discrimination against women combined with hegemonic educational practices are jeopardizing the social function of teaching and learning, hence the relevance of feminist critical pedagogy. A substantial body of research worldwide has explored the ways in which feminist pedagogy can develop feminist consciousness and examine power relations in different educational contexts. In Morocco, however, the feasibility of feminist pedagogy has not been researched despite the overwhelming interest in gender issues in different educational settings. The research on critical pedagogies in Morocco remains very promising. Yet, most studies were conducted in contexts which are already engaged with issues of theory, discourse, and discourse analysis. The field of ESP ( English for Specific Purposes) is pragmatic by nature, and priority in research has been given to questions that adhere to the mainstream concerns of need analysis and study skills and ignore issues of power, gender power relations, and intersectional forms of oppression. To address these gaps in the existing literature, this participatory action research seeks to investigate the feasibility of Feminist pedagogy in ESP higher education and how it can foster feminist critical consciousness among ESP students without compromising their language learning needs. The findings of this research will contribute to research on critical applied linguistics and critical ESP more specifically and add to the practice of critical pedagogies in Moroccan higher education by providing in-depth insights into the enablers and barriers to the implementation of feminist critical pedagogy, which is still feeling its way into the educational scene in Morocco.

Keywords: feminist pedagogy, critical pedagogy, power relations, gender, ESP, intersectionality

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46 ‘Social Health’, ‘Physical Health’ and Wellbeing: Analyzing the Interplay between the Practices of Heavy Drinking and Exercise among Young People with Bourdieusian Concepts

Authors: Jukka Törrönen


In the article, we examine the interplay between the practices of heavy drinking and exercise among young people as patterned around the ‘social’ and ‘physical health’ approaches. The comparison helps us to clarify why young people are currently drinking less than earlier and how the neoliberal healthism discourse, as well as the feminine tradition of taking care of one’s body, are modifying young people’s heavy drinking practices. The data is based on interviews (n = 56) in Sweden among 15-16-year-olds and 18˗19-year-olds. By drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and capital, we examine what kinds of resources of wellbeing young people accumulate in the fields of heavy drinking and exercise, how these resources carry symbolic value for distinction, and what kind of health-related habitus they imply. The analysis suggests that as heavy drinking is no longer able to stand as a practice through which one may acquire capital that is more valuable than the capital acquired in other fields, this lessens peer pressure to drink among young people. Our analysis further shows that the healthism discourse modifies young people’s heavy drinking practices both from inside and from outside. The interviewees translate the symbolic value of healthism discourse to social vulnerability and deploy it for the purposes of increasing one’s social status among peers. Moreover, our analysis demonstrates that the social spaces and positions in intoxication and exercise are shaped by gendered dualisms of masculine dominance. However, while the interviewees naturalize the gender binaries in intoxication as based on biological drives, they understand gender binaries in exercise as normative social constructions of neoliberal society. As these binaries emphasize the struggle for recognition of the symbolic value of bodily look, they may shift young men’s attention from risk-taking to issues that traditionally have been female concerns.

Keywords: young people, decline in drinking , health, intoxication, exercise, Bourdieu

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45 Rethinking Africa's 'Great Runner': Authoritarianism and Development in Post-Cold War Ethiopia

Authors: Frew Yirgalem Mane


This study has examined Africa’s experiment with authoritarian model of development drawing from the experience of Ethiopia. With the tectonic crisis of neoliberal ideology, the dominant policy agenda in Africa pertains to bringing the state back to development. More concretely, countries epitomized by Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda have been constructing a highly interventionist state with authoritarian character. The central motive appears to facilitate development and salvage people out of appalling and grinding poverty. Each country warrants closer inspection. However, this study focuses on Ethiopia- a country often applauded as ‘Africa’s Great Run’ for delivering socio-economic success over the past two decades. In fact, inspired by East Asia’s including Chinese model of authoritarian development, Ethiopia orchestrated a vanguard party, centralized rent control system with politicized bureaucracy and militaristic mobilization resources for development. This arrangement may explain Ethiopia economic success story as one the fastest growing countries in the world. However, this paper detected, Ethiopia’s attempt to bring the state back in development has precipitated institutionalization of a new breed of authoritarianism and informalization of public institutions. Ethiopia’s model of state-led development may constitute a noticeable shift away from the vengeful adherence to neoliberal policies. However, the manner the model has been practiced proved to be neither smooth nor appears to address Ethiopia’s aspiration for political and economic transformation. Partly, this can be illustrated by recent widespread grievances that fed into the popular uprising and animated opposition against the state. Sources of the grievance are complex, but they are highly ingrained with the way the authoritarian model of development is functioning and also the model’s dis-functioning in terms of benefiting people. In light of these findings, the study has arrived at the following conclusion. Africa’s attempt to emulate development models from other countries is not such a ‘bad’ thing. However, emulation makes sense if it is contextualized and sensitive to complex local socio-economic interests.

Keywords: Africa, authoritarianism, development, Ethiopia, neoliberalism

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44 Gramscian Class Analysis of the Brexit Process in the Passive Revolution Framework

Authors: Volkan Gulsen


This paper attempts to indicate the main class dynamics of the Brexit process in a Gramscian theoretical framework. It further aims to point out the influence of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom on the European Union class structure. It defines the unification process of the European Union as a passive revolution. In that way, the Brexit process has been described as a moment of negation in the European Union history of class struggle. It will be argued that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom has already altered the European class structure from the embedded neoliberal structure to a more corporate-liberal one.

Keywords: brexit, gramsci, passive revolution, post-neoliberalism

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43 A Call for Justice and a New Economic Paradigm: Analyzing Counterhegemonic Discourses for Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Environmental Protection in Philippine Alternative Media

Authors: B. F. Espiritu


This paper examines the resistance of the Lumad people, the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, and of environmental and human rights activists to the Philippine government's neoliberal policies and their call for justice and a new economic paradigm that will uphold peoples' rights and environmental protection in two alternative media online sites. The study contributes to the body of knowledge on indigenous resistance to neoliberal globalization and the quest for a new economic paradigm that upholds social justice for the marginalized in society, empathy and compassion for those who depend on the land for their survival, and environmental sustainability. The study analyzes the discourses in selected news articles from Davao Today and Kalikasan (translated to English as 'Nature') People's Network for the Environment’s statements and advocacy articles for the Lumad and the environment from 2018 to February 2020. The study reveals that the alternative media news articles and the advocacy articles contain statements that expose the oppression and violation of human rights of the Lumad people, farmers, government environmental workers, and environmental activists as shown in their killings, illegal arrest and detention, displacement of the indigenous peoples, destruction of their schools by the military and paramilitary groups, and environmental plunder and destruction with the government's permit for the entry and operation of extractive and agribusiness industries in the Lumad ancestral lands. Anchored on Christian Fuch's theory of alternative media as critical media and Bert Cammaerts' theorization of alternative media as counterhegemonic media that are part of civil society and form a third voice between state media and commercial media, the study reveals the counterhegemonic discourses of the news and advocacy articles that oppose the dominant economic system of neoliberalism which oppresses the people who depend on the land for their survival. Furthermore, the news and advocacy articles seek to advance social struggles that transform society towards the realization of cooperative potentials or a new economic paradigm that upholds economic democracy, where the local people, including the indigenous people, are economically empowered their environment and protected towards the realization of self-sustaining communities. The study highlights the call for justice, empathy, and compassion for both the people and the environment and the need for a new economic paradigm wherein indigenous peoples and local communities are empowered towards becoming self-sustaining communities in a sustainable environment.

Keywords: alternative media, environmental sustainability, human rights, indigenous resistance

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42 The Dynamics of Jordanian Socio-Political Satire after the Arab Spring

Authors: Yousef Barahmeh


There is a wide cultural belief that Jordanians are po-faced and unable to produce humour and satire. However, in the light of the harbingers of the Arab Spring in the early 2011, socio-political satire has thrived notably in social media as a rigorous act of critique and dissent against the institutionalized discourse. This paper seeks to explore the case study of Ahmad Hassan al-Zou’bi’s satirical articles and Facebook posts in the context of theories of satire and digital politics. Al-Zou’bi is the most prominent and prolific Jordanian satirist who rose to prominence after the Arab Spring. The analysis shows that his satirical articles provide a vintage point to the rhetoric behind the socio-political and economic reform programs as much as the adverse impact of neoliberal governments in the modern history of Jordan.

Keywords: Arab Spring, digital politics, humour and socio-political satire

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41 The Education-Development Nexus: The Vision of International Organizations

Authors: Thibaut Lauwerier


This presentation will cover the vision of international organizations on the link between development and education. This issue is very relevant to address the general topic of the conference. 'Educating for development' is indeed at the heart of their discourse. For most of international organizations involved in education, it is important to invest in this field since it is at the service of development. The idea of this presentation is to better understand the vision of development according to these international organizations and how education can contribute to this type of development. To address this issue, we conducted a comparative study of three major international organizations (OECD, UNESCO and World Bank) influencing education policy at the international level. The data come from the strategic reports of these organizations over the period 1990-2015. The results show that the visions of development refer mainly to the neoliberal agenda, despite evolutions, even contradictions. And so, education must increase productivity, improve economic growth, etc. UNESCO, which has a less narrow conception of the development and therefore the aims of education, does not have the same means as the two other organizations to advocate for an alternative vision.

Keywords: development, education, international organizations, poilcy

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40 Nature of Cities: Ontological Dimension of the Urban

Authors: Ana Cristina García-Luna Romero


This document seeks to reflect on the urban project from its conceptual identity root. In the first instance, a proposal is made on how the city project is sustained from the conceptual root, from the logos: it opens a way to assimilate the imagination; what we imagine becomes a reality. In this way, firstly, the need to use language as a vehicle for transmitting the stories that sustain us as humanity can be deemed as an important social factor that enables us to social behavior. Secondly, the need to attend to the written language as a mechanism of power, as a means to consolidate a dominant ideology or a political position, is raised; as it served to carry out the modernization project, it is therefore addressed differences between the real and the literate city. Thus, the consolidated urban-architectural project is based on logos, the project, and planning. Considering the importance of materiality and its relation to subjective well-being contextualized from a socio-urban approach, we question ourselves into how we can look at something that is doubtful. From a philosophy perspective, the truth is considered to be nothing more than a matter of correspondence between the observer and the observed. To understand beyond the relative of the gaze, it is necessary to expose different perspectives since it depends on the understanding of what is observed and how it is critically analyzed. Therefore, the analysis of materiality, as a political field, takes a proposal based on this research in the principles in transgenesis: principle of communication, representativeness, security, health, malleability, availability of potentiality or development, conservation, sustainability, economy, harmony, stability, accessibility, justice, legibility, significance, consistency, joint responsibility, connectivity, beauty, among others. The (urban) human being acts because he wants to live in a certain way: in a community, in a fair way, with opportunity for development, with the possibility of managing the environment according to their needs, etc. In order to comply with this principle, it is necessary to design strategies from the principles in transgenesis, which must be named, defined, understood, and socialized by the urban being, the companies, and from themselves. In this way, the technical status of the city in the neoliberal present determines extraordinary conditions for reflecting on an almost emergency scenario created by the impact of cities that, far from being limited to resilient proposals, must aim at the reflection of the urban process that the present social model has generated. Therefore, can we rethink the paradigm of the perception of life quality in the current neoliberal model in the production of the character of public space related to the practices of being urban. What we are trying to do within this document is to build a framework to study under what logic the practices of the social system that make sense of the public space are developed, what the implications of the phenomena of the inscription of action and materialization (and its results over political action between the social and the technical system) are and finally, how we can improve the quality of life of individuals from the urban space.

Keywords: cities, nature, society, urban quality of life

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39 Tinder, Image Merchandise and Desire: The Configuration of Social Ties in Today's Neoliberalism

Authors: Daniel Alvarado Valencia


Nowadays, the market offers us solutions for everything, creating the idea of an immediate availability of anything we could desire, and the Internet is the mean through which to obtain all this. The proposal of this conference is that this logic puts the subjects in a situation of self-exploitation, and considers the psyche as a productive force by configuring affection and desire from a neoliberal value perspective. It uses Tinder, starting from ethnographical data from Mexico City users, as an example for this. Tinder is an application created to get dates, have sexual encounters and find a partner. It works from the creation and management of a digital profile. It is an example of how futuristic and lonely the current era can be since we got used to interact with other people through screens and images. However, at the same time, it provides solutions to loneliness, since technology transgresses, invades and alters social practices in different ways. Tinder fits into this contemporary context, it is a concrete example of the processes of technification in which social bonds develop through certain devices offered by neoliberalism, through consumption, and where the search of love and courtship are possible through images and their consumption.

Keywords: desire, image, merchandise, neoliberalism

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38 Emancipation through the Inclusion of Civil Society in Contemporary Peacebuilding: A Case Study of Peacebuilding Efforts in Colombia

Authors: D. Romero Espitia


Research on peacebuilding has taken a critical turn into examining the neoliberal and hegemonic conception of peace operations. Alternative peacebuilding models have been analyzed, but the scholarly discussion fails to bring them together or form connections between them. The objective of this paper is to rethink peacebuilding by extracting the positive aspects of the various peacebuilding models, connecting them with the local context, and therefore promote emancipation in contemporary peacebuilding efforts. Moreover, local ownership has been widely labelled as one, if not the core principle necessary for a successful peacebuilding project. Yet, definitions of what constitutes the 'local' remain debated. Through a qualitative review of literature, this paper unpacks the contemporary conception of peacebuilding in nexus with 'local ownership' as manifested through civil society. Using Colombia as a case study, this paper argues that a new peacebuilding framework, one that reconsiders the terms of engagement between international and national actors, is needed in order to foster effective peacebuilding efforts in contested transitional states.

Keywords: civil society, Colombia, emancipation, peacebuilding

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37 Fixing the Identity Gap in Fashion: Magazines' Role in Consumption of Clothes

Authors: Kateryna Pilyarchuk


A dress has, since times immemorial, been used to communicate the wearer’s identity. When a new trend is born, fashionistas buy it not only with the purpose to beautify themselves, but also to acquire the collective identity. Fashion has become a means of narrating one’s stance and status. Thus, when one spends money on a brand, one pays for some unmaterial components associated with it. This paper will present some ways in which fashion magazines promote consumerism by drawing on women’s craving for collective identity and need to fill in their identity gap by means of a purchase. By applying the method of critical discursive psychology, it will present layers of ideology and positions that become visible in framing of the message in U.S. Harper’s Bazaar. In this context, fashion decisions that are presented to its readers will be critically evaluated from the gender perspective. It will be demonstrated that what is presented as a postfeminist choice in the neoliberal society is still, to a considerable extent, oppressive and driven by the male gaze. As the findings show, the contemporary female identities in fashion are still built on the principles of traditional femininity. Magazines and fashion discourse train women that they should fear being left out of fashion and, by extension, out of the category of the sexually appealing (from the male perspective).

Keywords: collective identity, critical discursive psychology, fashion discourse, identity gap

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36 Restoring Statecraft in the U.S. Economy: A Proposal for an American Entrepreneurial State

Authors: Miron Wolnicki


In the past 75 years the world was either influenced by, competing with or learning from U.S. corporations. This is no longer true. As the economic power shifts from the West to the East, U.S. corporations are lagging behind Asian competitors. Moreover, U.S. statecraft fails to address this decline. In a world dominated by interventionist and neo-mercantilist states, having an ineffective non-activist government becomes a costly neoclassic delusion which weakens the world’s largest economy. American conservative economists continue talking about the superiority of the free market system in generating new technologies. The reality is different. The U.S. is sliding further into an overregulated, over-taxed, anti-business state. This paper argues that in order to maintain its economic strength and technological leadership, the U.S. must reform federal institutions to increase support for artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies. The author outlines a number of institutional reforms, under one umbrella, which he calls the American Entrepreneurial State (AES). The AES will improve productivity and bring about coherent business strategies for the next 10-15 years. The design and inspiration for the AES come from the experience of successful statecraft examples in Asia and also other parts the global economy.

Keywords: post-neoliberal system, entrepreneurial state, government and economy, American entrepreneurial state

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