Demagogy and Social Pathology: Wendy Brown and Robert Pippin on the Pathologies of Neoliberal Subjectivity

Tom Bunyard


This essay argues that modern demagogy can be understood as a symptom
of a kind of social pathology, combining Wendy Brown's account of neoliberal
subjectivity with elements of Robert Pippin's interpretation of Hegel to do
so. I begin by focussing on Brown's contention that neoliberal society has
bred forms of individual subjectivity that are inherently attuned to right-wing
rhetoric. Drawing on Pippin's reading of Hegel, the essay casts these modes of
individual subjectivity as aspects of a flawed mode of collective subjectivity;
the contemporary rise of demagogic politics is thereby presented as a symptom
of a pathological failure of collective self-determinacy, caused by inadequacies
within the normative structures that articulate social activity.

Palabras clave

Brown, demagogy, Foucault, Hegel, neoliberalism, Pippin, social pathology, subjectivity

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ISSN de la edición impresa: 1575-6823

ISSN digital: 2340-2199

Depósito legal: SE 235-2015

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