Neoliberal theory and film studies

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Neoliberalism, in imposing ‘free market’ principles on all areas of life, transforms older configurations of the self, society, culture, aesthetics, and the relationships between them; it has increasingly been theorized as fundamentally breaking with liberal and humanist values in place since the Enlightenment. This introduction to the special issue on Neoliberal Cultural Transformations assesses existing scholarship on neoliberalism and cinema and points to new paths forward. It provides an overview of neoliberal theory from the social sciences, including the Marxist approach of theorists such as David Harvey as well as political approaches like the work of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Wendy Brown, and Philip Mirowski. I find that most work in film studies thus far has followed in the vein of Marxist theory, concerning itself almost exclusively with considerations of economics. Although the best of this work is compelling, I argue that the field of film studies is overdue for an exploration of political and biopolitical theories of neoliberalism and their connections to film texts. This is a two-way street; neoliberal theory needs film studies just as much as the converse, as cinema can offer unique insights into neoliberal transformations of the subject, society, culture, and aesthetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Marxist theory
  • Neoliberalism
  • biopolitics
  • film studies
  • ideology
  • media studies
  • subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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