Empire of Liberalism: Cultural War on the Social under Cold-War Liberalism and Neoliberalism
thesisposted on 28.06.2013, 00:00 by Reiichi Miura
The main thesis of my dissertation is that the governmentality for the hegemony of neoliberalism in the nineties was prepared by the adversary culture in the fifties. The essence of the culture of Cold-War liberalism, argued in Part I, is its advocacy for a male anti-social hero. The novels in the first half of the fifties symptomatically correspond to the late modernist turn, the coinage of the word modernism and its institutionalization with the hegemony of new criticism Fredric Jameson argued in The Singular Modernity. The modernist turn is most clearly articulated in Lionel Trilling’s The Liberal Imagination. It is also complemented by American Studies institutionalized in the same era. The archetype was then repeatedly demonstrated in Western movies that became very popular in the era. The cold-war individualism could be called the most influential liberal philosophy in the latter half of the twentieth century. Richard Chase in The American Novel and Its Tradition defines American Romance as the liberal essence of American literature. Part Two is critique of the culture of neoliberalism in the nineties. One aspect of the culture is figuration of risk society, an oxymoron of Ulrich Beck’s coinage, since “risk society” is a society without society, after the official announcement of the end of social safety net under neoliberalization. As the second aspect, it is imagined that the active citizenship is globally achieved after the end of the Cold War. The point of globalization lies not in the end of the Third World, but the end of the Second World: globalization is to be seen as an euphemism for the expansion of capitalism as usual. As Samuel Huntington clearly explains, the globalized world is a world imagined as a mosaic of diverse identities after the end of ideology. This concerns the third aspect: under the culture of neoliberalism, the left wing politics is imagined only in terms of the cultural politics of identities. This results from displacement of unionized labor movement with identity politics: the essence of postmodernism as Jameson argues in Postmodernism.