The Persistence of Neoliberalism
Editor-in-Chief: Jeffrey T. Parsons (CUNY Graduate Center)
The politics of academic “buzzwords” are well documented by sociologists of science, who note that certain concepts become pervasive in scholarly discourse due to a number of contextual and social factors that may have little to do with the substance of the concept itself (Davis, 2008). “Neoliberalism” has experienced tremendous uptake across the humanities and social sciences since its initial articulation in a series of key publications by geographer David Harvey (2005), political theorist Lisa Duggan (2003), and sociologist Randy Martin (2002).
As it has traveled, neoliberalism has been elaborated as a form of political economy, cultural politics, policy-making, and aesthetics. Likewise, the impact of neoliberal social policies and ideologies have been studied for their domestic and global implications for virtually all elements of social life, from humor (Grzanka & Maher, 2012) and reality TV (Couldry, 2008) to sex education (Elliott, 2014), public education (Soto & Joseph, 2010), hate crimes law (Spade, 2011), and gay neighborhood policing (Hanhardt, 2008, 2013). Queer studies has been particularly influential in mounting critical perspectives on the influence of neoliberalism in a so-called “post-gay” era of identity politics (Ghaziani, 2011), as mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social movements in the U.S. and Europe took a homonormative turn that embraced assimilation and consumerism over radical social action and coalition-building across boundaries of race, gender identity, citizenship, and social class (Duggan, 2002; Ferguson & Hong, 2012).
The widespread deployment of neoliberalism in social and cultural criticism has inspired some to declare the end of neoliberalism’s relevance due to its heterogeneous re-articulation, rendering the term a trendy, empty signifier (e.g., the “Kill this Keyword?” panel at the 2014 American Studies Association annual meeting). But as neoliberalism’s material effects continue to reverberate across diverse social worlds, is neoliberalism really “over”? What are the consequences of a “post-neoliberal” turn in a global era of continued deregulation, privatization, and stratification? And how might neoliberalism fatigue disguise a more politically insidious impulse to divert attention away from critical projects that target social inequalities, particularly intersecting inequalities of race, gender, class, and sexuality?
This special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy engages the persistence of neoliberalism as a perhaps over-deployed but still-powerful form of critical inquiry, particularly for sexuality and queer studies. We encourage submissions from scholars working in diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts whose work engages neoliberal socio-political formations that have important consequences for how we conceive of sexuality and sexual politics in the late 20th and early 21st century. We solicit paper proposals that are theoretical/conceptual and/or empirical on a wide range of topics relating to sexuality, policy, and neoliberalism, including:
• Public health, including sexually transmitted infections and vaccines
• Same-sex marriage
• Sexual behavior
• Reproductive rights and justice
• Intersectionality and queer theory
• LGBT consumers, marketing, and economic policies, including regulations and deregulation
• Transnational issues, including immigration, citizenship, and deportation
• Terrorism, torture, and mass incarceration
• Methods (i.e., how to study sexuality in/and neoliberalism)
• Violence, including rape culture
• Community organizing, political resistance
• New and emergent sexual orientation and gender identity categories
• Law and critical criminology
• Sexuality and disability
• Science and health policy
• Education policy and pedagogy
• Heterosexism, homonegativity, and attitudes toward sexual minorities
• LGBT and queer history, the history of neoliberalism
• Neoliberalism and cultural production/representation
Though we conceive of this special issue in broad terms related to SRSP’s mission of “sexuality research and social policy,” we are especially interested in paper proposals that address (a) how neoliberalism and neoliberal policies continue to matter for sexuality and intersecting forms of inequality in the United States and worldwide, and (b) how critiques of neoliberalism can inform social justice efforts domestically and globally. Finally, all proposals should address the work’s implications for social policy and social transformation.
The editorial team is committed to a substantive and timely review process for all proposals. The submission process will be as follows: first, authors will submit brief proposals. Accepted proposals will receive notification and editorial guidance/support throughout the spring and summer of 2015. Complete manuscripts will be submitted in late-summer 2015 and go through a blind, peer-review process. Accepted manuscripts will be published online before completion of the special issue, which is planned for 2016.
o April 1, 2015: Deadline for paper proposals
o April 15, 2015: Notification of decisions regarding proposed papers
o August 1, 2015: Complete manuscripts due
o August-December 2015: Peer-review
o 2016: Publication of the special issue online and in-print
Proposals should be no more than 500 words, not including references. Proposals should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1, 2015. Include disciplinary home and institutional affiliation for all authors. Questions about the special issue should be directed to any of the guest editors:
Patrick R. Grzanka, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee (email@example.com); Emily S. Mann, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Sinikka Elliott, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, North Carolina State University (email@example.com)