Danijela Petković

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The paper discusses Ken Loach’s critically acclaimed film, I, Daniel Blake, which, as it is argued, examines and condemns the neoliberal redefining of both the state and the citizen in contemporary Great Britain, setting this central issue in the wider, emotionally charged framework of labour, health, illness and death. The first part of the paper offers a brief, and selective, overview of current critical and theoretical thought on Anglo-American neoliberalism, state and citizenship, and summarizes the basic tenets of the recent work by Cherniavsky (2017), Brown (2015), Mirowski (2013), Wacquant (2011) and Harvey (2005) in particular. As countless other theorists and critics who further develop Foucault’s (1978) insights in the 21st century, they also agree that “the neoliberal turn” has resulted, inter alia, in a strong punitive state which nonetheless retains the outward signs and the institution of a democratic, Keynesian welfare state, including, as Loach’s film demonstrates, the social services. While the critics agree that such a transformation of the state and the citizen is particularly noticeable in contemporary USA, I, Daniel Blake demonstrates that austerity-era Great Britain is not far behind.


citizen, I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach, neoliberalism, social services, state

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