Neoliberalizing Space



This paper revisits the question of the political and theoretical status of neoliberalism, making the case for a process–based analysis of “neoliberalization.” Drawing on the experience of the heartlands of neoliberal discursive production, North America and Western Europe, it is argued that the transformative and adaptive capacity of this far–reaching political–economic project has been repeatedly underestimated. Amongst other things, this calls for a close reading of the historical and geographical (re)constitution of the process of neoliberalization and of the variable ways in which different “local neoliberalisms” are embedded within wider networks and structures of neoliberalism. The paper’s contribution to this project is to establish a stylized distinction between the destructive and creative moments of the process of neoliberalism—which are characterized in terms of “roll–back” and “roll–out” neoliberalism, respectively—and then to explore some of the ways in which neoliberalism, in its changing forms, is playing a part in the reconstruction of extralocal relations, pressures, and disciplines.