Jodi Dean

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Jodi Dean
Jodi Dean at Fear and Loathing of the Online Self (34692996971).jpg
Jodi Dean in 2017
Born (1962-04-09) April 9, 1962 (age 56)
Nationality American
Institutions Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Jodi Dean (born April 9, 1962) is an American political philosopher and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state.[1] She has also held the position of Erasmus Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam.[2]


Dean received her B.A. in History from Princeton University in 1984. She received her MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University in 1992. Before joining the Department of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, she taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has held visiting research appointments at the Institute for the Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, as well as McGill University in Montreal and Cardiff University in Wales.[citation needed]


Drawing from Marxism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, and postmodernism, she has made contributions to contemporary political theory, media theory, and feminist theory, most notably with her theory of communicative capitalism; the online merging of democracy and capitalism into a single neoliberal formation that subverts the democratic impulses of the masses by valuing emotional expression over logical discourse.[3] She has spoken and lectured in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Peru, England, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Turkey. She is the co-editor of the journal Theory & Event.[4]

The Communist Horizon[edit]

In the first two chapters of her 2012 book The Communist Horizon, Dean surveys the contemporary political landscape and notes the persistence of anti-communist rhetoric more than twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.[5] She says that capitalists, conservatives, liberals, democrats, social democrats, and “radical democrats” all embrace the idea that 20th century experiments with communism were an unqualified failure, and in doing so, limit the ability to discuss political alternatives to liberal democracy and free markets (a fusion of democracy and capitalism that Dean calls “neoliberalism”).[6] Dean asserts that when people think of capitalism, they do not think only of its worst excesses (war, imperialism, slavery, robber barons, the Great Depression, the global financial crisis, etc.). The history of capitalism is allowed to be dynamic and nuanced. By contrast, Dean writes, if one utters the word “communism,” there is no dynamism or nuance. A single story emerges, which links the word “communism” with a fixed and simplistic historical narrative.[7]

Dean argues that “communism”, for most people, equals the Soviet Union. Communist experiments in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin American are never mentioned. Second, Dean asserts that the entire seventy-year history of the USSR is collapsed into the twenty-six years of Joseph Stalin’s rule. Third, Stalin’s violence – the purges, the great famines, the Gulags – are the only events allowed to represent the ideal of “communism,” ignoring the modernization of the economy, the successes of Soviet science (including the Soviet space program) or the general increase in the standard of living for the once predominantly peasant society. Fourth, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the triumph of liberal democracy and free markets, follows directly from the totalitarian nature of Stalinism and its political and economic rigidity. Thus, the singular experience of Stalinism in the Soviet Union becomes the basis upon which all discussions of alternatives to neoliberalism are silenced. Stalinism serves as the “proof” that communism can never work in practice, because any challenge to the political status quo will inevitably end with purges and the Gulag. [8]


  • Solidarity of Strangers: Feminism after Identity Politics (University of California Press 1996)[9]
  • Feminism and the New Democracy: Resisting the Political (editor, Sage 1997)[10]
  • Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace (Cornell University Press 1998)[11]
  • Political Theory and Cultural Studies (editor, Cornell University Press 2000)
  • Publicity's Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy (Cornell University Press 2002)[12]
  • Empire's New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri (co-editor with Paul A. Passavant, Routledge 2004)
  • Žižek's Politics (Routledge 2006)[13]
  • Reformatting Politics: Information Technology and Global Civil Society (co-editor with Geert Lovink and Jon Anderson, Routledge 2006)
  • Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (Duke University Press 2009)[14]
  • Blog Theory (Polity 2010)[15]
  • The Communist Horizon (Verso 2012)[16]
  • Crowds and Party (Verso 2016)[17]


  1. ^ "Academics". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "AEJMC". AEJMC. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Johns Hopkins University Press - Theory & Event". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Jodi Dean, The Communist Horizon, New York: Verso, 2012
  6. ^ Admitting the communist desire:
  7. ^ Jule Ehms, "The Communist Horizon," Marx & Philosophy, 2014
  8. ^ Ehms, "The Communist Horizon"
  9. ^ "Solidarity of Strangers". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Aliens in America". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Publicity's Secret". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Zizek's Politics". 14 August 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "Duke University Press". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive: Jodi Dean: 9780745649702: Books. ASIN 074564970X. 
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  17. ^ "". Retrieved 18 March 2016. 

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