Will Davies is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics at Goldsmith, University of London where he also co-directs the newly created Political Economy Research Centre, and a prolific blogger. His recently published book The Limits Of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty And The Logic Of Competition examines the efforts paid by economic and innovation experts to model society in terms of competition. In this conversation we discuss the usefulness of the concepts developed by the recent sociology of critique to study the limits of neoliberalism and how the economic critique of the state has been employed precisely to legitimate, empower and expand the state.
Q1. TU. In the introduction of your book you mention that critics of neoliberalism will probably feel disappointed if they are expecting to find a sort of conspiracy theory being unveiled through your research. However, what your research does is to unveil the theoretical and ontological underpinning of competition and neoliberalism. But maybe I am missing part of your intentions. An introductory question: what were your initial hypotheses and/or motivations for studying competition and the rationality and authority of the neoliberal state?