Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Cornel Ban -- Beyond 'Empire': Neoliberalism in Translation

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

MacMillan 115, 167 Thayer Street

Beyond 'Empire': Neoliberalism in Translation

Cornel Ban
Visiting Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies

Much of the existing discourse on globalization revolves around the role of the hegemonic, neo-imperialist imposition of the neoliberal template on developing countries. The presentation strays away from this perspective by covering two less explored aspects of contemporary international political economy. The first is the embrace of neoliberalism in the absence of external top-down pressures such as capital flight or policy conditionality agreements with international financial institutions. Second, neoliberalism rarely diffused wholesale, as a “textbook” policy paradigm. Rather, what we are most likely to find are different forms of “embedded neoliberalism” that emerged from the grafting of neoliberal policies on local traditions. In some cases these traditions legitimized the kind of state intervention that gave more voice to states or electorates. In others, by contrast, they had a more libertarian accent and took neoliberalism in a more market fundamentalist direction. 

By looking at select economic transitions in Southern and Eastern Europe, I argue that in order to better understand these processes we need to pay more attention to the transnational diffusion of neoliberal ideas, to the complexities of their domestic translation and to the ways in which the internal fractures of the neoliberal paradigm enable more space for policy autonomy than it is traditionally assumed.


Location: MacMillan Hall 115, 167 Thayer Street.


Sponsored by the Development Studies DUG Development Studies Colloquium