A much earlier version of this project was published in Society, May 2012. This version expands upon the issues of individualism under neoliberalism through an examination of ways that the protagonist portrays a neoliberal subjectivity.


Postmodernity, the cultural mode of neoliberalism reduces history to a set of discourses with the concomitant assertion that the individual’s knowledge of the real emerges from an engagement with images of the real The economic structures of neoliberalism encourage rugged individualism, self-reliance, and assert a spurious gender equality. Mad Men, a contemporary media product situated in media-derived nostalgia demonstrates how audiences read the past through the postmodern, neoliberal discourse of style. These readings encourage an ahistorical understanding of gender and class that reinforces neoliberal suppression of people as members of political classes. Instead, we understand the protagonist as someone who exists through neoliberal subjectivity.