Hohle’s newest book tracks rise of neoliberalism
How simple racial binaries – notably black/white – are no longer able to explain the persistence of racism, capitalism and elite white power is examined by Associate Professor Randolph Hohle of the Department of Sociocultural and Justice Sciences in his new book, “Racism in the Neoliberal Era: A Meta History of Elite White Power,” published by Routledge.
Neoliberalism has been described as an ideology and public policy rooted in the 19th century that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. The neoliberal era contains the largest black middle class in U.S. history and is characterized by extreme racial marginalization.
Dr. Hohle focuses on how the origins and expansion of neoliberalism depended on language or semiotic assemblage of white/private and black/public connotations. The language of neoliberalism, Hohle said, explains how the white racial frame operates like a web of racial meanings that connect social groups with economic policy, geography and police brutality.
When America was racially segregated, elites consented to political pressure to develop and fund white/public institutions, according to Hohle. The black civil rights movement eliminated legal barriers that prevented racial integration. Hohle said elite whites reacted to the resulting black civic intrusion by using the language of white/private and black/public to deregulate the Voting Rights Act and banking.
What resulted, Hohle contends, was the privatization of neighborhoods, schools and social welfare which created markets around poverty. Mass incarceration and systematic policy brutality against people of color resulted. Neoliberalism is the result of the latest elite white struggle to maintain political and economic power, Hohle concludes.
“Racism in the Neoliberal Era” delivers a needed explanation of how social divisiveness and wealth inequality have gotten so out of control in the U.S., said prominent University at Buffalo sociologist Dr. Mark Gottdiener.
“Providing something of a revelation for all those interested in social problems and social justice, Hohle ties the abandonment of support for minorities, the poor, and the education of children to the hegemonic takeover of public policies by neoliberalism at all levels of the State,” Dr. Gottdiener said. “Hohle’s connection between the decline of American democracy and Neoliberal social policy requires us all to pay attention before current social cleavages become irreversible."
Richard Lachmann, author of “Capitalists in Spite of Themselves” and Sociology professor at the University at Albany, praised “Racism in the Neoliberal Era” as timely and important. Hohle traces the ways in which neoliberalism recast the culture of racism, allowing white elites to limit blacks’ voting rights and access to social benefits, while reinforcing de facto segregation and subjecting blacks to random and lethal police violence.
Hohle is also the author of “Black Citizenship and Authenticity in the Civil Rights Movement” (Routledge, 2013) and “Race and the Origins of Neoliberalism” Routledge, 2015).