Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Feminist institutionalism and neoliberalism

Wrenn, Mary


Mary Wrenn
Senior Lecturer in Economics


We argue Neoliberalism is an ideology that requires that the public/private split in human affairs exists and is perceived as normal and natural. Indeed, neoliberalism as an ideology cannot be sustained without public acceptance of the reality of the public/private dualism. Consequently, the feminist critique of the public/private dualism is extremely corrosive of neoliberal ideology. We begin by looking at a particularly corrosive critique of the public/private dualism presented in the Feminist Original Institutionalist analysis of Ann Jennings. We apply Jennings critique of the public/private dualisms to neoliberal conceptions of agency and care. 1. The Threat Posed to Neoliberalism by Feminism Neoliberalism is the prevailing ideological operant of the most recent stage in the evolution of monopoly capitalism over the last nearly five decades. Neoliberalism embodies the ideological shift in the purpose of the state from one that has a responsibility to insure full employment and protect its citizens against the exigencies of the market to one that has a responsibility to insure protection of the market itself (Harvey 2005). Indeed, neoliberalism teaches through the socialization process that each individual should be accountable to herself and in so doing, each individual's responsibility to others and to the collective is eroded. Society is then comprised entirely and solely of self-interested, atomistic individuals seeking to forward their own agendas. The emphasis on individual accountability and responsibility naturally segues into the power of the individual acting alone (Wrenn 2015).


Wrenn, M. (in press). Feminist institutionalism and neoliberalism. Feminist Economics,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 15, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 12, 2021
Deposit Date May 5, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 13, 2022
Print ISSN 1354-5701
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


This file is under embargo until Sep 13, 2022 due to copyright reasons.

Contact to request a copy for personal use.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations