Why the Neoliberal Narrative of ‘Success’ Fails

How is success/failure constructed in the neoliberal narrative? How is failure distinct from loss? And what are the complications of conflating the two?

Dr. Saad Ismail is joined by Prof. Beverley Clack in a fascinating and wide ranging conversation on the themes of her latest book How to be a Failure and Still Live Well: A Philosophy. Some of the highlights include: the neoliberal construction of failure, the changing shape of work in the modern world, the construction of death in neoliberalism, sickness as memento mori, the dimension of community and connection, homo religiosus, and practices to help face loss/failure.

Beverley Clack is Professor in the Philosophy of Religion at Oxford Brookes University. Her publications include: Interrogating the Neoliberal Lifecycle: The Limits of Success, co-edited with Michele Paule (2019); Philosophy of Religion: A Critical Introduction, co-authored with Brian R Clack (3rd edition 2019); Freud on the Couch (2013); Feminist Philosophy of Religion: Critical Readings, co-edited with Pamela Sue Anderson (2004); Sex and Death: A Reappraisal of Human Mortality(2002); and Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition (1999).

From 2012-16 she was City Councillor for St Clements Ward in Oxford, and from 2016-2018 she was a member of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum. She is a member of the Methodist Church’s Faith and Order Committee, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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