Introduction: Welcome to the Neoliberal Life Cycle!
To present an interdisciplinary collection with ‘neoliberal’ in the title is, in the twenty-first century academy, a risky business. The risk lies in the term’s ubiquity. Writers across social, cultural and economic fields seem to agree that the use of ‘neoliberal’ has become too lazy, too vague and too readily used to denounce (Peck in Territ, Polit, GovAnce 1: 132–157, 2013); too frequently undefined and unevenly employed (Boas and Gans-Morse in Stud Comp Int Dev 44, 2009); too ‘overblown’ and in need of being ‘severely circumscribed’ (Dean in Governmentality: Power and Rile in Modern Society, Sage, London 2014, p. 150). We have organised the essays in this collection around its banner precisely because of, rather than in spite of, this tendency to ubiquity.
The papers in this volume came out of an interdisciplinary seminar series held at Oxford Brookes University 2014–2015, and an accompanying extended social media discussion. We are grateful to the contributors, from the research group at Brookes, and those that brought their papers and perspectives to the conversation from other institutions, professional fields, nations and continents. Thanks to Heather Mendick and Kate Reynolds and also to the University for supporting this project.
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