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Terminology Corner

“Neoconservative” ideology and its purveyors (neocons) can have many different connotations. However, neoconservatism that affects housing and land policies and administration is that ideology and its adherents that pursue socioeconomic development models developed in the United States and seek their replication to their private interest in other countries. Neocons and neoconservatism are closely identified with behaviors, policies, project and plans that seek to expand U.S. economic, political and material domination extraterritorially. The Project for the New American Century, which can be identified as a prominent neoconservative organization in the United States, promotes the view that:

“American [i.e., United States] leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.“

This definition is U.S. focused, but outlines important elements of neo-conservatism, which protagonists describe as those supporting government solutions and foreign [U.S.] interventionism to a perceived social problem.

Proponents of neoconservatism claim that their ideology is grounded in a moral-political rationality, as distinct from neo-liberalism’s market-political rationality. Rather than a merely social or ideological formation, neoconservatism is a political formation that seeks to influence world developments in fulfillment of its own vision and preferences. Neoconservatism embodies a convergence, or alliance of convenience among the interests of seemingly diverse factions, including evangelical Christians, conservative feminists, Zionist groups and secular “cold warriors,” among others, in an alliance that is “unevenly and opportunistically religious.” What unites these groups are:

  • A strong state that will use its strength via military or political power [consistent with their world view and political preferences];
  • A state that will ally itself with, and empower corporations;
  • Individuals that are not necessarily always religious, but ally themselves with [Judeo-Christian concepts of] the religious/religion;
  • War (and the preparation for war) is viewed as the restoration of private virtue and public spirit.

Overall, neo-conservatism calls for a revival of patriotism, a strong military, and an expansionist foreign policy. In matters of war, neocons and neoconservatism find common cause with neoliberals, perceiving destruction as an opportunity for renewal, offering private sector actors new opportunities for reconstruction and profit.

Neo-conservatives view foreign investment (with the pre-conditions of privatization), usually in countries located in the global south or third world as means of spreading “democracy.” However, many of these groups, as Brown notes, are also united under a “shared loathing” of organizations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International, among other watchdog or regulatory groups.

More information can be found at:

Project for the New American Century:

Wendy Brown, American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservativism, and De-Democratization,” Political Theory, vol. 34, 2006;

Anne Norton,  Leo  Strauss  and  the  Politics  of  American  Empire (New Haven and London: ale University Press, 2005),  p. 178. Norton`s description aims to reveal the affinities of neoconservatism  with Nazism. 

“What is Neo-Conservatism?” WiseGeek, at:;

Michael Schwartz, “Neo-liberalism on crack: Cities under siege in Iraq,” City, Vol. 11, Issue 1 (1 April 2007).


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