Culture, Power, and Myths of Mobility
How does the idea of ‘meritocracy’ serve to reinforce social inequality?
In Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility (Routledge, 2017) Dr Jo Littler, Reader in Culture and Creative Industries at City, University of London analyses the history of the term, the political project it has been associated with, and the cultural manifestations of its neo-liberal form. The book charts the early, critical and satirical, origins of the idea, mapping its co-option by right wing governments within a project of state transformation and the end of social democracy. Allied to the genealogy of the idea, and the politics of inequality to which it is attached, the book details various manifestations of meritocratic culture that serve to exclude and divide. Here there are rich case studies of inequality of class, gender and ethnicity, ranging from #Damonsplaining, through ‘mumpreneurs’ to normcore plutocrats. Ranging widely, but theoretically grounded, the book is essential reading for anyone wanting to know how our current discourses of fairness have ended up supporting growing social inequality.