The word “neoliberalism,” first used during the 1930s, came into widespread circulation in the 1990s to name a utopian ideology of “free markets” and minimal state interference, a set of policies slashing state social services and supporting global corporate interests, a process (neoliberalization) proceeding in company with procorporate globalization and financialization, and a cultural project of building consent for the upward redistributions of wealth and power that have occurred since the 1970s. But neoliberalism might best be understood as a global social movement encompassing all of these political goals. In American studies and cultural studies, the concept has gathered force as a description of current tendencies in global politics and a critique of those tendencies, even as its meanings have dispersed.

This essay may be found on page 182 of the printed volume.

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