Neoliberalism, Eco-ability, and Public Pedagogy
By, Jason Del Gandio
This presentation situates neoliberalism (neo-laissez faire economics) and eco-ability as two opposing public pedagogies. Following the work of critical education theorist Henry Giroux, I argue that neoliberalism is not simply a system of economic inequality, but also a system of culture-and-power that teaches us to internalize and to express a variety of sensibilities and practices like greed, competition, domination, private interests, and self-preservation. In brief, neoliberalism is driven by a “profit before all else” mentality that affects our thoughts, behaviors, and relationality. Eco-ability, as a public pedagogy, teaches us very different things—it teaches us to value interdependency, community, inclusion, and connection across differences. Eco-ability thus acts as a counter-hegemonic pedagogy to that of neoliberalism. After juxtaposing these two public pedagogies, I will explore methods and strategies for disseminating eco-ability across varying social landscapes. To accomplish this task, I borrow the work of media theorist Stephen Duncombe and his notion of a “progressive spectacle.” The goal is to create an alternative progressive discourse capable of rivaling the power neoliberalism.
Jason Del Gandio (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Public Advocacy at Temple University. His areas of scholarly expertise include the philosophy of communication, social and political theory, rhetoric, and critical analysis with a focus on social movements and radical social change. Jason has participated in the Global Justice Movement, the anti-war movement, the anti-RNC demonstrations of 2004, fair trade campaigns, Latin American solidarity work, and the Occupy Movement. Jason has appeared on television and radio, and regularly speaks on college campuses and at public venues. In 2008 he published his first book, Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century Activists (New Society Publishers). More information can be found at www.jasondelgandio.net.