Assorted links for 09/01/2019

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1. The problem with “critical” studies by Joseph Heath (social studies)

For those who don’t know, here’s the basic problem with “neoliberalism.” It’s a made-up thing. It’s just a word that Foucault popularized, to talk about economic ideas that he didn’t really understand. There is no group of people out there who actually describe themselves as a neoliberals. Because of this, there are no constraints on what it can refer to, and there is no one to answer any of the criticisms that are made of it. Compare that to terms like “conservative” or “libertarian.” Because there are real people who call themselves “libertarian,” if you write something that criticizes libertarianism, an actual libertarian might write back and contest what you say. With “neoliberalism,” on the other hand, you can say whatever you want, without any fear that a real-life neoliberal will write back and contest your claims – because there are none. As a result, people who use this term in their writing are basically announcing, up front, that their intended audience is the left-wing academic echo chamber. After all, if they wanted to engage with people outside that chamber, they would have to address one or more of the ideologies that are actually, and self-consciously, held by people outside that chamber. 

Also: Taylor Boas and Jordan Gans-Morse, Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan, Studies in Comparative International Development, 44, 137 (2009).

2. Why Soviets Sent Dogs to Space While Americans Used Primates (history, The Atlantic)

3. The Potential Pros and Cons of Seabed Mining (mining, JSTOR)
We linked to other seabed mining problems here.

Deep sea mining implications via Wikimedia Commons

4. What reading 3.5 million books tells us about gender stereotypes (Salon)

5. Integrating documentary and medical technology to produce new perceptions of reproductive health (media, MIT)

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Knowledge architect, futurist, enthusiast of new technologies and innovations, avid reader

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