Neoliberalism Without Neoliberals

  • Niklas Olsen
Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


This chapter illustrates how the figure of the sovereign consumer was elevated as the dominant political paradigm in the Western world from the 1980s onwards, when politicians and political institutions began to govern in its name. The chapter documents this development by exploring how center-left parties in Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States followed in the footsteps of neoliberal politicians by framing the sovereign consumer as a motive and tool for public sector reforms. Moreover, the chapter provides a brief overview of neoliberalism’s hegemonic status on an international level by describing the rise of the sovereign consumer as a policy tool in the European integration project since the 1980s. Finally, the chapter outlines some of the problems that, arguably, characterize the neoliberal political paradigm.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niklas Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.SAXO-InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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