A Mad Critique of Anti-Neoliberalism: Sanism in Contemporary Left Thinking On Political Economy
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This dissertation offers a materialist feminist crip of color critique of the current academic (re)turn to political economy by critically examining how the recent focus on neoliberalism registers from the perspective of marginalized populations. Both academic and popular accounts of the violence of neoliberalism commonly resort to discourses of mental illness. Scholars in critical race and ethnic studies have demonstrated that such discourses privilege and reproduce a dangerously racialized vision of rationality. This dissertation focuses on the figurations of psychiatric disabilities in anti-neoliberal discourses, which romanticize madness and normalize liberal reason. Given rationality’s centrality to whiteness, I argue that madness becomes a hermeneutic tool that continues liberalism’s violent forgetting. I trace the work that racialized rationality does across a range of transnational discursive sites—from radical left manifestos and so-called neoliberal literature to pop psychology and sharing economy discourses across social media platforms and online publications. In this dissertation I offer an analytical framework centered on race, madness, and rationality that situates regimes of normalization and pathologization in the longue durée of racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and liberal democracy.