The original title of this piece was Riding the Wave: Structure, hegemony, and agency in neoliberal deconstruction
Let us define the cycle, then, as a continuing shift in national involvement, between public purpose and private interest.
—Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Cycles of American History
This blog seeks to determine whether the assumptions contained in Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy (Part 1) lend themselves to a useful interpretation of the nature and forces driving neoliberalism with reference to the structure-agency problem. The analysis takes on three dimensions: the first consists in examination of those conceptual frameworks presented in the documentary; the second compares the heuristic tools explored in the text with ideational, Marxist, Foucauldian, human geography/processual and institutional accounts by means of a critique; and the third traces the dilemma of structure and agency through each school in order that a synthesis is appraised. The paper concludes that Commanding Heights does not provide a useful account of neoliberalism to the extent the show’s producers and participants fail to account for ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ and its derivative hegemony.