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Better politics: narratives of indignation and the possibility of a prosocial politics

Jacobs, K ORCID: 0000-0002-1377-0069 2017 , 'Better politics: narratives of indignation and the possibility of a prosocial politics', in R Atkinson and L McKenzie and S Winlow (eds.), Building better societies: promoting social justice in a world falling apart , Policy Press, United Kingdom, pp. 27-38.

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My motivation for writing this chapter is that we require a truthful understanding of politics that admits the complex and at times very contradictory subject positions that we adhere to. For all of us concerned about the modus operandi of politics and the seeming unwillingness of governments to ameliorate widening inequality or mitigate the impact of climate change, there is always a temptation to disengage from contemporary political struggles and instead expend time postulating what a 'post-neoliberal' future might entail.In an exploration of neoliberalism, the politics of resistance and prosocial forms of engagement, I argue that a useful starting point is to interrogate the subject positions we adopt to understand the contemporary political era. Often these rely on a depiction of an economic and social crisis accentuated by neoliberalism, a sense of moral outrage and the attribution of culpability on to those we consider responsible. While such subject positions might assuage our yearning to feel indignant about what we don't like, they fall short as a starting point for the development of an adequate sociological understanding. Drawing on psychoanalytical literature and other sources, I consider the risks of relying on an abstracted form of neoliberalism and a defensive strategy of resistance as a foundation for the development of more prosocial forms of politics.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, K
Keywords: prosocial politics, narratives of indignation, neoliberalism, post-neoliberal futures
Publisher: Policy Press
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Copyright 2017 Policy Press

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