Room K108, Minerva (Siltavuorenpenger 5 A, 00170 Helsinki)
S. M. Amadae (University of Helsinki): Strategic Rationality and the Illiberal Turn: Coincidence or Correlation?
Does strategic rationality mark a new chapter in the history of Western capitalism? Does the illiberal turn from within the West show that western liberal institutions and ideals have run out of momentum and even become self-defeating? This talk explores two sources of illiberal reactions to the 2007-2010 financial crisis in the form of populist nationalism. One is the failure of institutions central to the reigning (neo)liberal hegemony. The second is the populist backlash against elites, and both center-left liberal and central-right conservatives parties in the US and Europe. Informed by a longue durée and dialectic perspective within which interests and ideas are steered by specific historical contexts, I argue that the institutions designed in accordance with strategic rationality create structures which limit possibilities for individual subjectivity and collective agency. Examples are legal and theoretical challenges to the cogency (and legality) of trade unions; legally prescribed privatized control in opposition to public authority; and new expressions of global capitalism celebrating cartels and monopolies in contradiction to traditional liberal calls for free market competition.