Sociology Index

Neo-Conservatism

Left Realism, Classical Liberalism, Neo-Liberalism

Neo-conservatism is resurgence of economic and political beliefs associated with classical liberalism of the early 19th century. Neo-conservatism is the name of a robust strain in American intellectual life and American politics. More correctly called neo-liberalism, the philosophy includes:

a)    acceptance of an unregulated market economy;

b)    a minimal role for government;

c)    suspicion toward the welfare state;

d)    a view of citizens as motivated only by self-interest; and

e)    a commitment to the central value of individualism.

Left realism is a criminological perspective emerging in Britain in response to the rise of neo-conservatism.

Creating Difference: Neo-Liberalism, Neo-Conservatism and the Politics of Educational Reform 
Michael W. Apple, University of Wisconsin–Madison 
This article raises questions about current educational reform efforts now underway in a number of nations. Research from a number of countries is used to document some of the hidden differential effects of two connected strategies—neo-liberal inspired market proposals and neo-liberal, neo-conservative, and middle class managerial inspired regulatory proposals, including national curricula and national testing.

American Exceptionalism - A Neo-conservative Face to Future 
Sukanta Acharya, The author is Head, Department of Political Science, Asutosh College, Calcutta University, Kolkata. 
Neo-conservatism is the name of a robust strain in American intellectual life and American politics, a strain with a very rich history. But although some of its leading figures over the years have pronounced the end of neo-conservatism usually on grounds of its merger with the conservative mainstream, the term remains very much alive.
One needs to explore the future of neo-conservatism, specifically, the ways in which it has evolved according to its own premises in the direction of current and future politics dedicated to the preservation and extension of liberal order, need to be properly understood. To get to neo-conservatism's liberal legacy, however, it is necessary to begin with liberalism's origins in the nature of politics itself.

Women's Land Rights and the Trap of Neo-Conservatism: A Response to Jackson 
Bina Agarwal 
In response to Cecile Jackson's article, I argue here that Jackson has seriously misrepresented my work, often attributing to me the opposite of what I have said, and turned nuanced and balanced formulations into one-sided extremes. I seek to correct the important misrepresentations, as well as outline my substantive differences with Jackson. In particular, her argument that women should not claim family land for risk of destabilizing family relations could, by extension, have deeply conservative implications for all forms of women's struggles to enhance their freedoms and capabilities. In many South Asian communities, conflict is equally inherent in women choosing their own marriage partners or professions, or seeking gender-equal education, or wanting freedom of reproductive choice or free public interaction. The fear of family conflict could tie women down on numerous such counts as well.

Neo-conservatism and child care services in Alberta: A case study
Jacqueline Hayden, PhD University of Western Sydney, Nepean Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia
The concept that some form of support for child care falls within the realm of state responsibilities has been acknowledged for many decades. In the 1990s, a political swing to the right is precipitating a reassessment of this principle.
This paper describes shows how the role of the state proceeded through four distinct phases, each determining a different outcome for child care stakeholders. Under the tenets of neo-conservatism, the current fifth phase is redefining the child care paradigm. To the extent that the example of Alberta serves as a prototype of child care developments elsewhere, the analysis of developments and outcomes can assist in forewarning those who are concerned about the maintenance and development of public child care.

Wither Ontario's Environment? Neo-Conservatism and the Decline of the Environment Ministry
Anita Krajnc
A series of sharp cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Environment's (MOE) budget in the 1990s have left it with fewer resources at the turn of the century than it controlled in the mid-1970s when the ministry was first created. This paper reviews the impact of those cuts on the ministry's mandate and organizational structure. The neo-conservative ideology of Premier Mike Harris' Conservative government accounts for the major retrenchment of the late 1990s.

Goodbye to All That? A Requiem for Neoconservatism (Review Essay of Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads, and Peter Beinart, The Good Fight: Why Democrats, and Only Democrats, Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again) - KENNETH ANDERSON, Washington College of Law, American University; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.
Abstract: The war on terror and the war in Iraq have occasioned a ferocious debate over the Bush administration's commitment to neo-conservatism as the guiding philosophy behind war aiming at democratic transformation. Two recent, widely noticed 2006 books have attacked neo-conservatism - one, by a former neoconservative, Francis Fukuyama (After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads), and a second, by a centrist liberal, Peter Beinart (The Good Fight). Each seeks to anatomize neo-conservatism and what, in each author's view, has gone wrong with it; each seeks to offer an alternative foreign policy. 
Considering the respective cases the two books make against neo-conservatism and the rationales it has provided for the Iraq war and the war on terror. The essay considers the broader intellectual framework of neo-conservatism and its history within American conservatism, and the long-running American foreign policy debate over realism and idealism, setting out a seven point schema of neoconservative doctrines. It is respectful of Fukuyama's critiques, and particularly the internal contradictions that Fukuyama identifies within and among neoconservative premises that have led to what Fukuyama sees as disastrous policies. Still, the essay does not believe that Fukuyama has decisively knocked down the neoconservative case for the Iraq war or, more broadly and importantly, the neoconservative commitment to democratic transformation as against realist doctrines of the accommodation and stability of corrupt or wicked authoritarian regimes. With respect to Beinart, the essay praises his call for the Democratic Party to recognize that the fight against transnational Islamist terrorism is really a fight against a form of totalitarianism, and hence similar to the Cold War. It rejects, however, Beinart's characterization of neo-conservatism and Bush administration foreign policy as likewise a threat to American values, different in degree but not necessarily in kind.

Neo-Conservatism and American Literature
Richard Chase 
Abstract: BY NOW the "new conservatism" is an old story. What has not been noticed, however, is the attempt to square American literature with conservative opinion in morals, politics, and religion....

What difference does difference make? Reflections on neo-conservatism as a liberal cosmopolitan project 
Ray Kiely, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Abstract: This article examines cosmopolitanism with specific reference to the 'realist turn' in United States foreign policy since 2001. In examining the evasions of cosmopolitanism, the article suggests that neo-conservatism in the US is not necessarily completely incompatible with some interpretations of liberal internationalism and cosmopolitanism, which in turn are linked to the idea of a benevolent US hegemony. Even on its own terms however, this is a project that is bound to fail, as it ignores the inequalities and hierarchies of the international order, which have intensified in the neo-liberal era, and the historical and sociological reasons for 'state failure'. If cosmopolitanism is to have a future, then it must evade the quick fix solutions proposed by advocates of 'liberal military intervention'. If it fails to do so, then it will remain complicit with an 'imperialist', US-led neo-liberal international order.

Creating Difference: Neo-Liberalism, Neo-Conservatism and the Politics of Educational Reform
Abstract: This article raises questions about current educational reform efforts now underway in a number of nations. Research from a number of countries is used to document some of the hidden differential effects of two connected strategies - neo-liberal inspired market proposals and neo-liberal, neo-conservative, and middle class managerial inspired regulatory proposals, including national curricula and national testing. This article describes how different interests with different educational and social visions compete for dominion in the social field of power surrounding educational policy and practice. In the process, it documents some of the complexities and imbalances in this field of power.

U.S. Neo-Conservatism: Cohort and Cross-Cultural Perspective, Andreas Schneider, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 19:56-86.
Abstract: In materialistic societies, identities denoting authority, family, and religion are highly appreciated. Authority is instrumental in the achievement of materialistic values. Religious values are epiphenomenona dealing with feelings of shame and guilt arising from materialistic indulgence. Securing materialistic well-being, young adults stay longer in the family home.
This dependency makes contemporary North Americans see family identities more potent than 20 years ago. Today’s U.S. males and females love authorities more than they did in the late 1970s. Following the ideal type of postmaterialism and postauthoritativeness, a cross-sectional comparison with German data of the 1990s provides a reference point for the North American time series of the late 1970s and 1990s.