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The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities | EVENTS | Feminism and Neoliberalism: Young Women's Lives in Times of Social Polarisation.

Feminism and Neoliberalism: Young Women's Lives in Times of Social Polarisation.

Venue TBC, TBC

This event has ended.

Event description

** Please note: in line with social distancing advice from the UK government, we are postponing this event. Once we have further information we will add new dates, times and locations here. In the meantime, take care of yourselves & each other, and stay safe **

Following the lecture, Professor Angela McRobbie will be in conversation with Professor Esther Leslie

This lecture extends the arguments first presented in The Aftermath of Feminism (2008) by a) re-investigating the terrain of post-feminism through the lens of political and popular culture and interrogating its more substantially anti-feminist agenda as feminist (black and white) and anti-racist gains were systematically undone: b) reflecting on the consequences of this we then consider the tropes of ‘neoliberal leadership feminism’ which have emerged as a modernising thread within the resurgent patriarchalism of the current authoritarian polity. One figuration for consideration is that of multi-mediated maternity, with the mother as the new/old ‘angel in the house’: c) then, in response to more radical forms of feminist activisms in recent years attention is paid to the biopolitical managerial response of consumer culture in the guise of a therapeutic discourse of ‘perfect-imperfect-resilience’: d) if ‘resilience’ is a toolkit for the gendered bodily pathologies of the logic of self-auditing competition, anti-welfarism remains the key instrument for the disciplining of socially disadvantaged women, and in this final part of the lecture we consider the racialised scripts of poverty-shaming and the meaning of ‘contraceptive employment’.


This lecture continues our series of Feminist Flashpoint events, following from the Feminist Emergency Conference of June 2017, in which we seek to create space for dialogue around some of the most searching and difficult issues facing feminism today.


Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths University of London and Fellow of the British Academy. An expert on gender and popular culture as well as on the creative economy and the new world of work, her most recent books are Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries (2015) and Feminism and the Politics of Resilience (2020 forthcoming). Angela is a regular contributor to openDemocracy and to BBC Radio 4 Thinking Aloud.

Esther Leslie is Professor in Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck University of London, and Co-director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. She has research interests in Marxist theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. Other research interests include the poetics of science, the bleeding edge of technologies, European literary and visual modernism and avant gardes, animation, colour and madness, art philosophy and politics.

Please note: Admission is on a first-come-first-served basis for those with tickets. Not everyone who books uses their ticket, so to ensure a full house we allocate more tickets than there are seats. This usually means we have a full house without having to turn people away, but there may be occasions when we do have more people than seats available. Please ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the start time to avoid disappointment. We also run returns queues at the events and fill any empty seats with those waiting outside the theatre shortly before the start of the event.

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Angela McRobbie,Prof Esther Leslie