Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Michaele Ferguson

Abstract

Scholars from various disciplines have documented shifts in different political areas toward an emphasis on individuals and individual actions. This increasing concentration on the individual results in decreased consideration of the social and structural nature of these political issues. This change in conceptualization is a result of neoliberalism. In synthesizing different theories of this ideology, and considering the way in which it operates in various political realms, I argue that neoliberalism needs to be understood as an individualizing ideology. Neoliberalism is shown herein to perpetuate itself through a cycle of individualization that is manifested in different ways. The individualizing component of the ideology changes the way in which subjects conceptualize reality, and makes it particularly difficult to see neoliberalism as an ideology. I develop a detailed understanding of individualization that accounts for the distinct but interconnected ways in which neoliberalism is expressed in different political areas. I conclude by arguing that we should interrupt the cycle of individualization in an effort to interfere with the perpetuation of neoliberal ideology.

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