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Jodi Dean (born April 9, 1962) is an American political theorist 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]

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)
Alma materPrinceton University (B.A.)
Columbia University (MA, MPhil, PhD)
SchoolMarxism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism
InstitutionsHobart and William Smith Colleges



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 as well as McGill University in Montreal and Cardiff University in Wales.[citation needed]


Emphasizing Leninism, psychoanalysis, and postmodernism, Dean has made contributions to contemporary political theory, media studies and third-wave feminism, most notably with her theory of communicative capitalism—the online merging of democracy and capitalism into a single 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 HorizonEdit

In the early chapters of her 2012 book The Communist Horizon, Dean considers 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, and social democrats all agree that 20th century communist regimes were unqualified failures, thereby limiting the scope of discussion around political alternatives to liberal democracy and free markets (a fusion of which constitutes Dean's conception of neoliberalism).[6] She asserts that when people think of capitalism they do not think of its worst excesses (including unemployment, economic inequality, global warming, robber barons, imperialism, the Great Depression, and the Great Recession) because the history of capitalism is considered dynamic and nuanced. By contrast, Dean writes that 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 believes that for most people, communism is interchangeable with the Soviet Union. Communist experiments in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin American are never mentioned. Dean doesn't consider or cite any of the academic scholarship on Soviet imperialism in eastern Europe, Mao's Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, or Castro's Cuba. Second, Dean asserts that the entire seventy-year history of the Soviet Union is collapsed into the twenty-six years of Joseph Stalin's rule. Third, Dean thinks it is reductive to consider Stalin's violence, political suppression, and authoritarian rule—the purges, the great famines and the gulags—as the events that represent the ideal of communism, ignoring the industrialization of the economy, the successes of Soviet scientists (including the Soviet space program), and the relative increase in the standard of living in the once predominantly agrarian economy. Fourth, Dean believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the triumph of liberal democracy and free markets follows directly from the authoritarian nature of Stalinism and its political and economic rigidity. Thus, the experience of Stalinism in the Soviet Union becomes the basis upon which discussions of alternatives to neoliberalism are silenced. Dean does not consider why communism didn't continue after Gorbachev implemented his policies of glasnost and perestroika. Dean also doesn't distinguish between different types of capitalism, which would allow for the consideration of existing alternatives to neoliberalism. Finally, Dean contends that Stalinism serves as proof that communism can never work in practice because any challenge to the political status quo will inevitably end with purges and the gulag.[7]


  • Solidarity of Strangers: Feminism after Identity Politics (University of California Press 1996)[8]
  • Feminism and the New Democracy: Resisting the Political (editor, Sage 1997)[9]
  • Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace (Cornell University Press 1998)[10]
  • Political Theory and Cultural Studies (editor, Cornell University Press 2000)
  • Publicity's Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy (Cornell University Press 2002)[11]
  • Empire's New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri (co-editor with Paul A. Passavant, Routledge 2004)
  • Žižek's Politics (Routledge 2006)[12]
  • 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)[13]
  • Blog Theory (Polity 2010)[14]
  • The Communist Horizon (Verso 2012)[15]
  • Crowds and Party (Verso 2016)[16]


  1. ^ "Academics". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Politics without Politics".
  3. ^ "AEJMC". Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Johns Hopkins University Press - Theory & Event". Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Jodi Dean (2012). The Communist Horizon. New York: Verso.
  6. ^ Joseph G. Ramsey (July 11, 2013). "Admitting the Communist Desire". CounterPunch. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Jule Ehms (March 9, 2014). "The Communist Horizon". Marx & Philosophy Society. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  8. ^ "Solidarity of Strangers". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Feminism and the New Democracy: Resisting the Political".
  10. ^ "Aliens in America". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Publicity's Secret". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Zizek's Politics". 14 August 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Duke University Press". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  14. ^ Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive: Jodi Dean: 9780745649702: Books. ASIN 074564970X.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 18 March 2016.

External linksEdit