Ontological status of neoliberalism: a Critical Realist Marxist approach

Yeşilyurt, Baver
The present thesis dwells upon the conviction that an appropriate understanding of neoliberalism should consider capital-labor relations, intra-capital relations, relations between social classes and the state, and last but not least, international capitalist system in its totality. Although Marxist political economy tradition embraces the multidisciplinary research efforts, Marxist definitions of neoliberalism are somehow under the risk of slipping into reductionism. In this thesis, which adopts a Marxist political economy view, a new understanding of the notion of neoliberalism is introduced by considering the multiplicity of social structures, generative mechanisms and strategies of various agencies regarding the class struggle, in a way that is consistent with the Critical Realist approach of Roy Bhaskar’s. However, this conception also refrains from reducing the notion to mere social structures or accumulation strategies. Neoliberalism itself is defined as a system, a catalyst that mediates structure and agency. Neoliberalism is a market-oriented project without subject, led by collective imperialism, dominated by financial capital, subjugated by labor, supported by the economic regulatory role of the authoritarian state and market ideology. The essence of this system will be sought in the tension between commodification and resistance to commodification that is through double movement.


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Citation Formats
B. Yeşilyurt, “Ontological status of neoliberalism: a Critical Realist Marxist approach,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2022.