This introduction to the politics of poststructuralism focuses on two interrelated themes: the culture of Western Marxism and contemporary neo-liberal capitalism. One of the book's main arguments is that poststructuralism is not a form of anti-Marxism. Indeed, poststructural philosophers view themselves in some kind of relationship to the legacy of Marx: either they have been Marxist or still view themselves as Marxist. In a post-Marxist era they have invented new ways of reading and writing Marx. The other major argument concerns a critical engagement with neo-liberalism, an ideology that is committed to the revitalization of homo economicus and neo-classical economics. On this model, the social is re-described in terms of the economic. No longer content to analyze and describe economic behaviour in terms of choices involving the allocation of scarce resources, neo-liberalism imperialistically elevates itself to the position of a global social science able to explain all rational conduct, or even simply all behaviour. The book is a deconstruction of neo-liberalism, considered as a world-historical political project aimed at a form of globalization.
Michael A. Peters is professor of education at the University of Glasgow and University of Auckland.