Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

“More than Markets: How Neoliberalism Threatens Democratic Public Engagement”

March 31 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Lambda Pi Eta: Theta Kappa Chapter at UNC Chapel Hill is proud to sponsor COMM Research Week! This week will feature different talks with guest speakers and COMM faculty for COMM Undergraduate and Graduate students.

The “finale” event for COMM Research Week is a colloquium with Professor Rob Asen on Friday, March 31st from 3:00-5:00 in Bingham Hall 103. Professor Asen has entitled his talk “More than Markets: How Neoliberalism Threatens Democratic Engagement.”

“In this talk, I [Professor Asen] will consider the challenges that neoliberalism raises for theories and practices of democratic public engagement. Democratic public engagement draws implicitly and explicitly on the circulation of a dynamic public good that may articulate mutual standing and relationships among people to enable the construction of a collective “we” for coordinated action. Weakening relationships among people and devaluing coordinate action, neoliberalism envisions a public of atomistic individuals who compete with one another for comparative advantage. Flattening difference and obscuring inequality, a neoliberal public presumes a universal subject that obscures its own particularity and discounts the uneven burdens faced by those who cannot seamlessly identify with its mode of subjectivity. Further, for a neoliberal public, inequality serves as the condition and end of competition. Resistance to neoliberalism may arise in the networked locals of a multiple public sphere, as advocates reclaim connections that neoliberalism seeks to deny.”

Robert Asen's picture

Profile picture and biography (below) taken from the Department of Communication Arts website, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Robert Asen is a professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Asen conducts research and teaches in the areas of public policy debate, public sphere studies, and rhetoric and critical theory. He focuses on the ways that political, economic, and cultural inequalities interact with relations of power to shape public discourse. He considers how powerful individuals and groups use discourse to maintain their privilege and how marginalized people seek to overcome exclusions to represent their needs, interests, and identities in the public sphere. Asen understands discourse as an ameliorative social force that may build community and promote justice as well as an oppressive force that may divide people and perpetuate cruelty.

Professor Asen received his B.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; his M.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.  He has published numerous articles in journals such as The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Argumentation and Advocacy, and Communication Theory.  He has written or edited four books.  Among the honors he has received are the following:

  • The Daniel Rohrer Research Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Arumentation from the American Forensics Association
  • The Rhetoric and Communication Theory “New Investigator Award” from the National Communication Association
  • The James A. Winans—Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address from the National Communication Association
  • The Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Public Address from the National Communication Association
  • The Kohrs-Campbell  Prize in Rhetorical Criticism from Michigan State University for Education for his book, Invoking the Invisible Hand: Social Security and the Privatization Debates, published by Michigan State University Press


March 31
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Lambda Pit Eta: Theta Kappa
Department of Communication


Bingham Hall 103
Bingham Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
+ Google Map