The Tentacles of Neoliberalism: How the Master’s Tools Became a Vehicle for Activism




Womack, Malia Lee

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Texas State University, Center for Diversity and Gender Studies


In the late 19th century Anglo European liberalism was adapted into the United States, which asserted formal equality of white men and legitimacy of slavery. Centuries later, this legacy transformed into neoliberalism and impacts socio-economic hierarchies in the US and globally because the nation is a global hegemonic empire. In order to increase competition and minimize transaction costs, neoliberalism's key components are free trade, deregulation of markets, reduced social spending by governments, and privatization of economies. Supporters of the theory argue that without government intervention the market will naturally work itself out due to supply, demand, and people's self-determination and their interest in personal economic gain. In response to the US superpower hegemonically supporting this model, movements in labor occurred from less developed countries to industrialized countries because of the concentration of wealth in those nations. Immigrants were drawn to capital gain out of the desire to have greater consumption powers and monetary resources for them and their families, yet after they migrate their labor is vulnerable to exploitation. To combat this a body of nonprofits formed. Yet, non-governmental organizations often become carriers of dominant neoliberal global agendas supported by the US state, which expects impoverished beings to take responsibility for their own economic empowerment. This paper interrogates the activist strategy of the NGO, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, to investigate how the organization is implicated in neoliberal principles that the US influences the globe to support in order to preserve its empire and global hegemon.



Neoliberalism, empire, imperialism, hegemony, immigration


Womack, M. L. (2018). The Tentacles of Neoliberalism: How the Master’s Tools Became a Vehicle for Activism. <i>Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 8</i>(1), pp. 36-48.


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