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.a matterof a few years,in all the advancedsocieties, employers, internationalofficials, high-rankingcivil servants, mediaintellectuals and high-flying journalistshave all startedto voice a strangeNewspeak. Its vocabulary,which seems have sprungout of nowhere,is now on everyone's to lips: 'globalization' and 'flexibility', 'governance'and 'employability', 'underclass' and 'exclusion', 'new economy' and 'zero tolerance','communitarianism'and 'multiculturalism', not to mentiontheir so-calledpostmodern cousins,'minority', 'ethnicity', 'identity', 'fragmentation',and so on. The diffusion of this new planetaryvulgate -from which the terms 'capitalism', 'class', 'exploitation', 'domination' and 'inequality' are conspicuous their absence, by having been peremptorilydismissedunderthe pretext that they are obsoleteand non-pertinent is the result of a new type of imperialism.Its effects are all the more powerful and perniciousin that it is promotednot only by the partisansof the neoliberal revolution who, undercoverof 'modernization',intend to remakethe world by sweepingaway the socialand economicconquests a centuryof social.struggles, of henceforth depictedas so many archaisms obstacles the emergent and to new order, but also by cultural producers(researchers, writers and artists)and left-wing activists,the vast majority of whom still think of themselves progressives. as Like ethnic or genderdomination,cultural imperialismis a form of symbolic violencethat relies on a relationshipof constrainedcommunication extort to submission.In the caseat hand,its particularityconsistsin universalizingthe particularismsbound up with a singular historicalexperience.Thus,just as, in the nineteenth century,a numberof so-calledphilosophicalquestionsthat were debated throughoutEurope,suchas Spengler'sthemeof 'decadence'or Dilthey's dichotomy betweenexplanation and understanding, originated,as historianFritz Ringerhas demonstrated, the historical predicaments conflicts specificto the in and peculiar world of Germanuniversities,so today manytopics directly issuedfrom the particularitiesand particularismsof US societyand universitieshave been imposedupon the whole planetunder apparently dehistoricized guises.These commonplaces the Aristotelian senseof notions or theseswith which one argues (in but over which there is no argument), theseundiscussed presuppositions the of discussion owe most of their power to convinceto the prestigeof the place whencethey emanate, to the fact that,circulating in continuousflow from and Berlin to BuenosAires and from Londonto Lisbon, they are everywhere






powerfully relayedby supposedly neutralagencies ranging from major international organizations World Bank, InternationalMonetaryFund, European (the Commissionand OECD),conservative think-tanks(the Manhattan Institute in New York City, the Adam SmithInstitute in London,the FondationSaint-Simonin Paris,and the DeutscheBank Fundationin Frankfurt) and philanthropic foundations, the schoolsof power (Science-Po France,the London Schoolof to in Economicsin England,Harvard's KennedySchoolof Government America, in etc.). In additionto the automaticeffect of the internationalcirculation of ideas,which tends,by its very logic, to concealtheir original conditionsof prodqctionand signification,the play of preliminary definitionsand scholasticdeductions replaces the contingency denegated of sociologicalnecessities with the appearance logical of necessity tendsto maskthe historicalroots of a whole setof questionsand and notions:the 'efficiency' of the (free) market,the needfor the recognitionof (cultural) 'identities' or the celebratoryreassertion (individual) 'responsibility'. of Thesewill be said to be philosophical,sociological,economicor political, dependingon the place and momentof reception.Thus 'planetarized',or globalizedin the strictly geographical senseof the term, by this uprooting and, at the sametime, departicularized a result as of the illusory break effected by conceptualization, these commonplaces, which the perpetualmedia repetition has graduallytransformed into a universalcommon sense, succeed making us in forget that, in many cases, they do nothing but express, in a truncatedand unrecognizable form (including to thosewho are promoting it), the complex and contested realities of a particular historical society, tacitly constitutedinto the modeland measure all things: the American society of of the post-Fordist and post-Keynesian the world's only superpower era, and symbolicMecca.This is a societycharacterized the deliberatedismantlingof by the socialstateand the correlativehypertrophyof the penal state,the crushingof trade unionsand the dictatorshipof the 'shareholder-value' conception the firm, of and their sociologicaleffects:the generalization precariouswage labour and of social insecurity,turned into the privileged engineof economicactivity. The fuzzy and muddydebateabout 'multiculturalism' is a paradigmatic example. The term was recentlyimported into Europeto describecultural pluralism in the civic sphere, whereasin the United Statesit refers,in the very movementwhich obfuscates to the continuedostracization Blacks and to the crisis of the it, of nationalmythologyof the 'Americandream' of 'equal opportunityfor all', correlative of the bankruptcyof public educationat the very time when competition for cultural capital is intensifying and classinequalitiesare growing at a dizzying pace.The locution 'multicultural' conceals this crisis by artificially restricting it to the university microcosm and by expressingit on an ostensibly'ethnic' register, when what is really at stakeis not the incorporationof marginalizedcultures in the

academiccanonbut access the instruments (re)production the middle and to of of upper classes, chief amongthem the university,in the contextof active and massivedisengagement the state.North American 'multiculturalism' is neithera by conceptnor a theory, nor a socialor political movement -even though it claims to be all thosethings at the sametime. It is a screendiscourse, whoseintellectual statusis the productof a gigantic effect of nationaland internationalallodoxia, which deceivesboth thosewho are party to it and thosewho are not. It is also a North Americandiscourse, eventhough it thinks of itself and presents itself as a universal discourse, the extentthat it expresses contradictions to the specificto the predicament US academics. off from the public sphereand subjected a of Cut to high degreeof competitivedifferentiationin their professionalmilieu, US professors havenowhereto invest their political libido but in campussquabbles dressedup as conceptual battlesroyal. The samedemonstration could be made aboutthe highly polysemicnotion of 'globalization', whoseupshot-if not function -is to dressup the effects of American imperialismin the trappingsof cultural oecumenicism economic or fatalism and to makea transnational relation of economicpowerappearlike a natural necessity. Througha symbolic reversalbasedon the naturalization the of schemata neoliberalthought,the reshapingof socialrelationsand cultural of practicesafter the US template,which has beenforced uponadvanced societies throughthe pauperization the state,the commodification public goodsand the of of generalization job insecurity,is nowadaysaccepted of with resignation the as inevitableoutcomeof nationalevolution, when it is not celebratedwith sheep-like enthusiasm. empiricalanalysisof the trajectoryof the advanced An economiesover the longueduree suggests, contrast,that 'globalization' is not a new phaseof in capitalism,but a 'rhetoric' invoked by governments orderto justify their in voluntary surrender the financial marketsand their conversion a fiduciary to to conception the firm. Far from being -as we are constantlytold -the inevitable of resultof the growth of foreign trade,deindustrialization, growing inequalityand the retrenchment socialpolicies are the result of domesticpolitical decisionsthat of reflect the tipping of the balanceof classforces in favour of the ownersof capital. By imposing on the restof the world categories perception of homologousto its social structures, USA is refashioningthe entire world in its image:the mental the colonizationthat operatesthroughthe dissemination theseconcepts only of can lead to a sort of generalized and evenspontaneous 'Washingtonconsensus', one as can readily observein the sphereof economics, philanthrophyor management training. Indeed,this doublediscoursewhich, althoughfoundedon belief,mimics scienceby superimposing appearance reason-and especially the of economicor politological reason-on the socialfantasiesof the dominant,is endowedwith the performativepowerto bring into beingthe very realities it claims to describe, accordingto the principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy:lodged in the minds of political or economicdecision-makers their publics, it is usedas an instrument and of construction public and private policies and at the sametime to evaluatethose of very policies. Like the mythologiesof the age of science, new planetaryvulgate the rests on a seriesof oppositionsand equivalences which supportand reinforceone anotherto depictthe contemporary transformations advanced societiesare undergoing -economic disinvestment the stateand reinforcement its police and by of penal components, deregulation financial flows and relaxationof administrative of controls on the employmentmarket,reductionof social protectionand moralizing celebrationof 'individual responsibility' -as in turn benign,necessary, ineluctable or desirable, accordingto the oppositionsset out in the following ideological schema:

state ~ [globalization] ~ constraint closed rigid immobile,fossilized past,outdated stasis group,lobby, holism,collectivism uniformity, artificiality autocratic('totalitarian')


freedom open flexible dynamic,moving,self-transforming future, novelty


individual,individualism diversity,authenticity democratic

The imperialismof neoliberalreasonfinds its supreme intellectual accomplishment in two new figuresof the cultural producerthat are increasinglycrowding the autonomous critical intellectualborn of the Enlightenment and tradition out of the public scene. One is the expert who, in the shadowy corridorsof ministries or companyheadquarters, orin the isolation of think-tanks,prepares highly technical documents, preferablycouchedin economicor mathematical language, usedto justify policy choicesmadeon decidedlynon-technical grounds.(The perfect examplebeing plans to 'save' retirementschemes from the supposed threatposed by the increasein life expectancy, wheredemographic demonstrations used to are railroad privatizationplans that consecrate powerof shareholders shift risk the and to wage-earners throughpensionsfunds). The otheris the communication consultantto the prince -a defectorfrom the academic world enteredinto the serviceof the dominant,whose missionis to give an academic veneerto the political projectsof the new stateand business nobility. Its planetaryprototypeis without contestthe British sociologistAnthony Giddens,Director of the London Schoolof Economics, and father of 'structurationtheory', a scholasticsynthesisof various sociologicaland philosophicaltraditions decisivelywrenchedout of their contextand thus ideally suitedto the taskof academicized sociodicy.. One may seethe perfectillustration of the cunningof imperialist reasonin the fact that it is England-which, for historical,cultural and linguistic reasons, stands in an intermediary,neutralposition (in the etymologicalsense 'neither/nor' or of 'either/or') between United Statesand continentalEurope-that has supplied the the world with a bicephalousTrojan horse,with one political and one intellectual head,in the dual personaof Tony Blair and Anthony Giddens.On the strengthof his ties to politicians,Giddenshas emergedas the globe-trottingapostleof a 'Third Way' which, in his own words -which musthere be cited from the catalogueof textbook-styledefinitions of his theoriesand political views in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)sectionof his London Schoolof Economicswebsite, <www.lse.ac.uk/Giddens/FAQs.htm> -'takes a positive attitudetowardsglobalization'; 'tries [sic] to respondto changingpatternsof inequality', but begins by warning that 'the poor todayare not the sameas the poor of the past', and that, 'likewise, the rich are not the sameas they usedto be'; accepts idea that the 'existing socialwelfare systems, the broaderstructureof the State,are the and sourceof problems,not only the meansof resolvingthem'; 'emphasizes social that and economicpolicy are intrinsically connected',in order betterto assert that 'social spending to be assessed termsof its consequences the economyas has in for a whole'; and, finally 'concernsitself with mechanisms exclusionat the bottom of and the top [sic]', convincedas it is that 'redefining inequality in relationto exclusionat both levels is consistentwith a dynamic conception inequality'. The of mastersof the economy,and the other 'excluded at the top', can sleepin peace: they havefound their Pangloss.
This is a revised version of a translationby David Macey of an article that originally appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique 554, May 2000,pp. 6-7.





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Pierre Bourdieu is Professor of Sociology at the College de France and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en SciencesSociales Loic Wacquant teachesin the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Stella Sandford te~chesphilosophy at Middlesex University. She is the author of The Metaphysics ofLove: Gender and Transcendence Levinas (Athlone, 2000). in Jon Beasley-Murray is Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the University of Manchester. He has published articles on Peronism and cultural studies, Sendero Luminoso and civil society theory, and Gilles Deleuze's film theory. Tony Gorman teachesphilosophy at the University of Staffordshire. Chetan Bhatt teachessociology at Goldsmiths College. He is the author of Liberation and Purity (UCL Press, 1997) and a forthcolning book, Hindu Nationalism: Origins, Ideologies and Modem Myths (Berg). Layout by PetraPryke Tel: 020 7243 1464 Copyeditedand typesetby Illuminati Tel: 01981241164 Productionby Stella Sandford and PeterOsborne Printed by RussellPress, RussellHouse,Bulwell Lane,Basford, NottinghamNG6 OBT Bookshop distribution UK: Central Books, 99 Wallis Road,London E95LN Tel: 020 89864854 USA: Bernardde Boer, 113EastCentre Street,Nutley, New Jersey07100 Tel: 2016679300; Ubiquity Distributors Inc., 607 Degraw Street,Brooklyn, New York 11217 Tel: 718875 5491 Cover: Calendar,2000 Publishedby RadicalPhilosophyLtd. www.radicalphilosophy.com

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