Neoliberal policies go hand in hand with social exclusion

1 min read

Looking more closely at Europe may give us a better understanding of why Donald Trump has grown so popular in the U.S., suggests new research exploring the rise of neoliberalism abroad.

Sociologists from Harvard and Boston University describe how citizens in countries which, like the U.S., rolled out neoliberal policies in the 1990s and 2000s, have come to draw strong exclusionary lines between themselves and people at society’s margins, specifically Muslim immigrants and the poor.

The researchers — Jonathan Mijs, Elyas Bakhtiari, and Michèle Lamont — argue that citizens’ diminishing solidarity with the poor, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments, and the growing populist vote are all facets of exclusionary symbolic boundaries, which can be linked to the adoption of neoliberal policies across European societies.

Based on the uneven rate of neoliberal policy implementation across European societies, they show the intricate relationship between those policies and the ways in which citizens define who belongs, who is deserving, and who is worthy.