The Financial Crisis and the Hegemony of Urban Neoliberalism: Lessons from Frankfurt am Main


In view of debates among critical urban scholars regarding the relationship between the current economic crisis and the stability of neoliberal hegemony on the urban scale, this article analyzes (1) the impact of the economic recession on the city of Frankfurt am Main, and (2) whether urban politics in the German financial center will witness a new phase of post‚Äźneoliberalization. Statistical analyses of the local labor and property markets and of municipal budget trends reveal that the implications of the current crisis are relatively limited, especially when compared to the crisis in the early 2000s. Furthermore, a discourse analysis of the debates in the Frankfurt City Council between 2008 and 2010, supplemented by interviews with local political elites, shows that neoliberal hegemony remains stable and powerful regardless of the deep economic decline and a short period of uncertainty and intensive hegemonic struggles. In my analysis I focus on the power of neoliberal subjectivity and knowledge production in order to try and explain the deepening of the general consensus among local elites by demonstrating that a broad majority of actors from different political parties interprets the crisis within a neoliberal rationality.