Political Culture after Democracy

232 pages

4 halftones

January, 2017

ISBN: 9781479893577



Add to Cart Available: 12/16/2016

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Eva Cherniavsky is the Andrew R. Hilen Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Washington.  She is the author of Incorporations, Race, Nation and the Body Politics of Capital (2006) and That Pale Mother Rising: Sentimental Discourses and the Imitation of Motherhood in 19th-C. America (1995).

All books by Eva Cherniavsky

How political realities are formed when the government ceases to be a guarantor of rights and democracy
Neocitizenship explores how the constellation of political and economic forces of neoliberalism have assailed and arguably dismantled the institutions of modern democratic governance in the U.S.  As overtly oligarchical structures of governance replace the operations of representative democracy, the book addresses the implications of this crisis for the practices and imaginaries of citizenship through the lens of popular culture.  Rather than impugn the abject citizen-subject who embraces her degraded condition, Eva Cherniavsky asks what new or hybrid forms of civic agency emerge as popular sovereignty recedes.               

Drawing on a range of political theories, Neocitizenship also suggests that theory is at a disadvantage in thinking the historical present, since its analytical categories are wrought in the very historical contexts whose dissolution we now seek to comprehend. Cherniavsky thus supplements theory with a focus on popular culture that explores  the  de-democratization for citizenship in more generative and undecided ways.  Tracing the contours of neocitizenship in fiction through examples such as The White Boy Shuffle and Distraction, television shows like Battlestar Galactica, and in the design of American studies abroad, Neocitizenship aims to take the measure of a transformation in process, while evading the twin lures of optimism and regret.


  • “I highly recommend this book to readers in American studies, cultural studies, and political theory.”

    H-Net Reviews

  • "Neocitizenship is an alarming look into a future in which the neoliberal democratic system has fallen apart."

  • “Sophisticated and fresh, Neocitizenship breathes new life into the discourse on neoliberalism. Cherniavsky’s provocative study of the emergence of new political subjectivities amid the decline of the nation-state as a guarantor of rights and a repository of popular sovereignty will galvanize conversations around neoliberalism, citizenship, and affective economies. This is a book certain to generate a great deal of heat as well as light.”

    —Cotten Seiler, author of Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America