Bahá'í Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2021
'Breaking the Spell of the Welfare State? ': Public Culture in Neoliberalism's Gender Regime
Professor Angela McRobbie, Professor Emeritus, Goldsmiths University of London and Professor of Cultural Studies, Coventry University UK.
September 30, 2021
1pm - 2.30pm EDT (6pm - 7.30pm BST)
This lecture offers a feminist cultural studies perspective, influenced by the writing of both Stuart Hall and Lauren Berlant, on the re-configurations of the last decade which see precipitative encodings of public and popular culture. As the new maternalism shores up family life as human capital, as young women are exhorted to succeed by deploying resilience as a training regime, as consumer culture looks to forge its own feminist voice, to be compatible with recent gendered 'structures of feeling', so also does a new moral economy of work and employment emerge. Underlying these configurations is an ethos which envisages further dismantling of welfarism through the disavowal of dependency and the shaming of 'mismanaged lives'. There is opposition however against the 'cruel optimism' (Berlant) of public culture. The lecture also considers how these hegemonic cultural forces are having to re-scramble, now, in the light of the pandemic, so as to re-claim the ascendancy, where feminist anti-racist claims have been made for a new anti-debt and care-based transnational welfare imaginary.
Angela McRobbie (FBA) is Professor Emeritus at Goldsmiths University of London and Professor of Cultural Studies at Coventry University UK. Her most recent books are Feminism and the Politics of Resilience (2020), Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries (2016) and The Aftermath of Feminism (2009). She is currently completing Fashion as Creative Industry: Micro enterprises in London, Berlin and Milan (2022), and she will complete a trilogy of works on feminist theory in 2023 Critical Feminist Pedagogies: Essays in Cultural Theory .