In Undoing the Demos, Wendy Brown explains how democracy itself is imperiled. The demos disintegrates into bits of human capital; concerns with justice bow to the mandates of growth rates, credit ratings, and investment climates; liberty submits to the imperative of human capital appreciation; equality dissolves into market competition; and popular sovereignty grows incoherent. Liberal democratic practices may not survive these transformations. Radical democratic dreams may not either. In an original and compelling argument, Brown explains how and why neoliberal reason undoes the political form and political imaginary it falsely promises to secure and reinvigorate. Through meticulous analyses of neoliberalized law, political practices, governance, and education, she charts the new common sense. Undoing the Demos makes clear that for democracy to have a future, it must become an object of struggle and rethinking.
"Political theorist Wendy Brown opens her brilliant and incisive new book, Undoing the Demos, with a clarion call: Western democracy is imperiled. According to Brown, democracy has grown gaunt as a consequence of an ascendant political rationality that, like an ideological autoimmune disorder, has assaulted its very fiber and futureDemocracy is the crux of the issueand by focusing on how it's been diminished Brown has written a book that deserves to be widely read." - Astra Taylor, Bookforum
Wendy Brown is Class of 1936 First Chair of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is also affiliated with the Department of Rhetoric and the Critical Theory Program and the author of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone Books).