From Neoliberalism’s Family Values to a Democratic Politics of Care
How does the family — the figure and the institution — help (re)produce and legitimate the neoliberal social order we inhabit? And how might a critical understanding of these operations contribute to reimagining and invigorating a democratic politics that embraces rather than disavows inevitable interdependency and the demands of care that follow? Drawing on feminist, care, democratic and critical theory, I examine contemporary political discourse to show how the family helps secure and obscure the real costs of care and how new – neoliberal — orders of gender, race, national origin and class are integral here. In light of these insights, I turn to democratic political theory, which, even in many of its contemporary iterations, secures and disavows care with the help of the family, much like the prevailing neoliberal political logic. Following the lead of democratic care and feminist democratic theory, as well as insights garnered from contemporary experiments in socializing care, I consider how decentering the private family can help invigorate the dying demos.