Department or Program



Recent scholars have challenged the notion that neoliberalism is a coherent, dominant, and monolithic ideology on the basis of its diverse, transnational intellectual origins and the varied ways it has been applied in practice across the world. Further, they call into question the usefulness of conceiving neoliberalism as an utterly hegemonic power, because such a conception precludes the possibility for any resistance or social change in the future. I use McGee’s (1980) theory of the ideograph to understand neoliberalism’s dominance and rise to power, positing that neoliberalism has ascended in the United States because it has appropriated and redefined the ideographs that are the basis of the shared American rhetorical culture. I then explore the possibilities for resistance against neoliberalism, arguing that dominant ideologies must be contested in positive ways that go beyond mere denunciation or posturing against — that is, it is not enough to be an “anti-neoliberal.” Finally, I suggest, following (Touraine, 2001), that social actors may move “beyond neoliberalism” by contesting its dominance on the level of the ideograph, seeking to (re)-define and (re)-conceptualize the values and collective commitments that establish the American people as a “public.”

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Kelley-Romano, Stephanie

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.