Crisis, hegemony, and the social investment market: The cultural political economy of an emerging governance strategy
This thesis contributes to contemporary research on neoliberalism by analysing the ‘social investment market’ (SIM) as part of the reproduction and remaking of hegemony since the financial crisis of 2008. It describes the modernisation attempts under the idea of ‘ethical capitalism’ to deal with multiple problems of market governance, by linking it with new notions of public responsibility, in order to bring about a sustainable recovery by harmonising relations between government, market, and society. My original contribution to knowledge is the fusion of a cultural political economy perspective, developed by Sum and Jessop (2013), with a historical materialist policy analysis, which allows me to explain ‘moral capitalism’ – defined by Clarke (2010a, p. 388) as a “muted echo of popular scepticism and outrage about the crisis of the present” – in strategic-relational terms. This is understood as an encounter, negotiation, and provisional and unstable compromise between competing projects of restructuring, namely between an effort to ‘restore’ neoliberal hegemony on the one side, and efforts to advance ‘progressive post-neoliberal alternatives’ (Peck, Theodore, & Brenner, 2010, p. 112), on the other. I demonstrate this perspective by reconstructing two cases of Social Impact Bonds – projects seeking to employ markets for the achievement of public goals, identifying both the possibilities for substantive change as well as limitations, in the ongoing context of political economic crisis.
- PhD