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Upon this Rock. Neoliberalism, Global Governance and Liberal Democracy, 1930-1960.

Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships

What

The project shows how Western reconstruction during the crises of the First World War, the Great Depression and the Second World War built a global network of institutions and experts tasked with thinking about solutions to the crisis of liberalism and about possible ways of building nation-states that would provide internal security to their populations while at the same time also international security through collaboration and a similar basic script.

The script was an economic constitutionalism that would inscribe basic ideas of liberal economics into the source of all legitimacy, the constitution. The project identifies neoliberalism as a governance concept - it proposes to understand neoliberal configurations from the vantage point of national and transnational co-construction.

Why

Research on neoliberalism yields perspectives that allow new readings of our contemporary experience. By showing the deep roots of neoliberalism within networks of global governance, the book shows the complex past of neoliberalism (that is already empirically groundbreaking based on multiple archival research in five languages).

Based on the fact that neoliberalism and neoliberals were at the heart of global governance institutions since the 1930s, the book shows also how strongly neoliberalism was linked to a construction of normative basic concepts like human inviolability and the human person. The book allows for a complex and adequate discussion of today s global constellations and the crises of liberal democracies and liberal internationalism we currently experience.

How

I will use the fellowship to fully focus on writing the book. I will have the opportunity to conduct a final round of archival visits in London, Paris and Florence before the grant begins in September 2020.

SSR

Addressing the fundamental question of the relation between social and economic organisation, the project displays social responsibility by providing a thorough compass to a complex past that has shaped our present. What kind of economy do we want to build in order to reach which social ends? What role does the economy play in relation to what societies would regard as a 'good society'?

By uncovering how Western societies (re)constructed their polities consciously via national and transnational co-construction and based on key assumptions and norms, the book serves social ends by revealing the foundations of today's situation - and will thus generate an input to the discussion about future constructions of the economy - and the society we would like to qualify as 'good'.