Authoritarian neoliberalism: trajectories of knowledge production and praxis

Ian Bruff, Cemal Burak Tansel

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This introduction to the special issue takes as its point of departure three
centres of gravity that have shaped the study of neoliberalism but have also
established barriers to further progress in these debates. By promoting an
intersectional materialist research agenda which challenges extant ideational,
modernist and empiricist tendencies in scholarship on neoliberalism, the
essay contextualizes the special issue articles by outlining and clarifying key
aspects of our understanding of authoritarian neoliberalism. In particular, we
reflect on themes related to conceptualization and periodization, which are
of importance for both this special issue but also for broader questions of
knowledge production and praxis. Through doing so, we argue that there are
two distinct yet connected trajectories within the research agenda on
authoritarian neoliberalism: one which focuses on the intertwinement of
authoritarian statisms and neoliberal reforms; and another which traces
various lineages of transformation of key societal sites in capitalism (e.g.
states, households, workplaces, urban spaces). Recognition of this spectrum of
authoritarian neoliberal practices is important as it helps us uncover how
inequalities of power are produced and reproduced in capitalist societies,
and pushes us to consider more fully how other worlds can be made
possible. Nevertheless, it is affirmed that we must remain open to what an
emancipatory society might look like, and what struggles would be most
appropriate, in and across various socio-spatial contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Authoritarian neoliberalism
  • coercion
  • markets
  • neoliberalism
  • periodization
  • resistance


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