The influence of neoliberal thought on contemporary politics: an examination of the interrelationships between ideological hegemony, neoliberal thought and contemporary politics
Mac Donald, Fergal
University College Cork
This thesis critically assesses the impact of neoliberal ideology on liberal thought and contemporary politics specifically examining the question, To what extent has neoliberalism, as elucidated originally by Hayek affected change in contemporary politics? This question is crucial to understanding the nature, role, influence and impact of neoliberal ideas. This investigation required a broad engagement with the literature, identifying and discussing the relationships within neoliberalism allowing a clearer understanding of the role of ideas in neoliberalism’s continuing hegemony. The methodological approach adopted a social constructivist character that encompassed an individual centric emphasis, acknowledging the breadth and complexity of Neoliberalization through the use of interpretive repertoires. The initial chapters examine the ideational process and the role of particular understanding in motivating political conduct. In this context of the transfer of ideas through their everyday resonance eventually becoming ‘stubborn social facts’ (Habermas 2006:413) is highlighted. Later chapters discuss the historical and economic context of Neoliberalization focussing on the role of the hegemon and its influence, outlining and evaluating the contribution of Hayek to liberal thought. The penultimate chapter deals with the contemporary situation and the irony associated with Hayek’s original ideas. Concluding, several findings emerged contributing by combining available knowledge in a uniquely fresh way and generating originality by linking old ideas, new ideas and new facts. The results are grouped as, - Pragmatic, recognising that political pragmatism trumps ideological aspiration where liberal democratic processes require politicians are held to account. - Realistic, recognising the contrast and irony between political action and ideological insight reflected in the operationalization of neoliberalism. - General, recognising Hayek’s on-going but increasingly indirect influence. The thesis finishes with a short aside on ideational change within the context of the current crisis and advocates an introspective approach that includes entrepreneurial spirit, good conscience and duty as part of future deliberations.
Ideology , Liberalism , Friedrich Hayek , Ideas
Mac Donald, F, 2011. The influence of neoliberal thought on contemporary politics: an examination of the interrelationships between ideological hegemony, neoliberal thought and contemporary politics. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.