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Authoritarian liberalism in Europe: a common critique of neoliberalism and ordoliberalism

Wilkinson, Michael (2019) Authoritarian liberalism in Europe: a common critique of neoliberalism and ordoliberalism. Critical Sociology, 45 (7-8). pp. 1023-1034. ISSN 0896-9205

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0896920519837325


The differences between ordo- and neoliberalism are many and varied. This article suggests, however, that in directing the constitutional dynamic of European integration and postwar reconstruction, ordo- and neoliberalism represent a single movement: a conjunction of political authoritarianism and economic liberalism in opposition to democracy and especially in opposition to democratic constituent power. This dynamic becomes more evident with the Euro-crisis response, but it represents the deeper logic of postwar reconstruction. With a longer historical arc in view, authoritarian liberalism can be traced as a reaction to the interwar breakdown of liberal democracy, based on a narrow diagnosis of democratic collapse. Postwar Europe is thus reconstituted on the basis of a substitution of economic for political freedom as a legitimating device for the new constitutional imagination.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Law
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2019 12:15
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:43

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