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By Anita Chari

Anita Chari revives the concept that of reification from Marx and the Frankfurt institution to focus on the resistance to neoliberal capitalism now forming on the point of political economic system and on the extra sensate, experiential point of subjective transformation. analyzing paintings by means of Oliver Ressler, Zanny Begg, Claire Fontaine, Jason Lazarus, and Mika Rottenberg, in addition to the politics of Occupy Wall highway, Chari identifies practices in which artists and activists have challenged neoliberalism's social and political logics, exposing its inherent tensions and contradictions.

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Extra resources for A political economy of the senses : neoliberalism, reification, critique

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Although, as Foucault demonstrates, neoliberalism entails an inversion in the relationship between the state and economy, whereby the state takes an interventionist role in constructing the conditions for free markets, the classic liberal distinction between a compartmentalized state and economy nevertheless continues to provide an implicit framework for significant strands of contemporary political critique. Unless we understand the ways in which neoliberalism violates its own commitments to liberal or liberalesque principles, and transforms the content of these very principles, the structure of neoliberal depoliticization remains unclear.

Critique finds itself disarmed for a time. 67 Boltanski and Chiapello, I would suggest, describe the situation that the left critique of neoliberalism confronts now, disarmed by transformations in the structure of capitalism that have rendered such critiques no longer adequate to changed conditions. This situation is one of critical impasse. ”68 While her focus is on the affective inhabitation of an impasse, and the gestures that emerge to make sense of a transitional space of time in which action has no orientation and in which precarity predominates, I suggest that the concept of the impasse is useful for understanding the situation of the left critique of neoliberalism in light of the neoliberal resignification of critique.

Studying the political economic dimensions of neoliberalism illuminates another dimension of how neoliberalism depoliticizes the economy. On the one hand, as I emphasized earlier, the neoliberal state innovates economic policies that allow the state to regulate markets at a remove while obscuring its own role in fashioning economic outcomes. On the other hand, political economic approaches highlight the ways in which neoliberal economic policy increasingly erodes policymakers’ control of the economy.

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