Living With American Neoliberalism
Culture is inescapably linked to questions of political economy. In Neoliberal Culture: Living With American Neoliberalism (Ashgate, 2012), Patricia Ventura explores the relationship between contemporary American culture and the ideology that seems to underpin much of American life. The book integrates a range of theoretical perspectives, including the work of Michel Foucault and David Harvey, with contemporary social policy and cultural studies examples. The examples, ranging from Las Vegas’ urban organisation and Oprah’s book club through to cinematic representations of the Iraq war, all support the central thesis that American culture has turned away from the welfare state settlement of the Cold War towards a much harsher social reality. The new settlement is one of increased personal responsibility for structural and systematic failures in contemporary America. The book seeks to situate the analysis in a broader global contact, focusing on issues around immigration and global trade to add context to the focus on Neo-Liberal cultural artefacts. The book concludes with two examples that offer hope for resistance to the march of Neo-Liberalism. Both are focused on food, using one of the basic aspects of our daily lives to rethink how America, and thus the world, will organise its resources in the future.