Jim Buller, Pinar E. Donmez, Adam Standring, Matthew Wood
Comparing Strategies of (De)Politicisation in Europe: Governance, Resistance and Anti-Politics, Gewerbestrasse: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018; 265 pp.: ISBN 9783319642352
The concept of depoliticisation is en vogue in political science research. Scholarly interest in the practices through which pockets of technocratic exceptionalism and neoliberal marketisation ingrain into the processes of everyday political-economic life, constraining democratic decision-making over an increasing range of policy areas, has become a real growth field in political science over the past decade.
Comparing Strategies of (De)Politicisation in Europe brings innovative perspectives and new empirical materials to this flourishing field of research. It does it in two main ways. First, at the theoretical level, the book develops a line of inquiry already opened by some previous publications on the subject (see, for example, Beveridge, 2017) but with still promising potentialities to exploit: that of engaging in the articulation between the post-politics literature and the literature on depoliticisation. By the first, I refer to the heterogeneous body of thought developed since the 1990s by different political and social theorists with a post-structuralist or post-Marxist background, such as Chantal Mouffe (2005), Slavoj Zizek (1999) or Jacques Ranciere (1995). The second, in turn, constitutes a blooming research agenda which has been developing since the early 2000s, mainly in British academia, by critical political economists and public policy scholars, such as Peter Burnham, who in a 2001 seminal article provided the most commonly accepted definition of the concept of depoliticisation within this tradition of research (Burnham, 2001), or Colin Hay, author of one of the most popular analytical models used in it (Hay, 2007). As aptly stated by the editors of the book in its first chapter, although both strands of research share the general thrust that the neoliberalisation of democratic capitalist societies is progressively precluding the possibility for genuine political deliberation, they have nonetheless so far developed in almost total isolation. In contrast, most of the contributions of the volume operate with conceptualisations of depoliticisation that articulate insights of both traditions of thinking (see, for instance, Chapter 2 written by Topli/ek, Chapter 6 authored by Standring or Chapter 8 written by...