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Dr Neil Vallelly

Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

Neil Vallelly imageContact details

Room Room 2S2 Arts 1 (Burns Building)
Email neil.vallelly@otago.ac.nz

Academic qualifications

  • 2015: PhD, University of Otago
  • 2011: MA, Queen’s University Belfast
  • 2012: BA (Hons), Queen’s University Belfast

Research interests

Neil’s research crosses the areas of political and intellectual history, critical theory, and continental philosophy. He specialises in the history of neoliberalism, critique of capitalism, and the politics of migration and borders.

His first book, Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the Production of Uselessness (2021), examined the historical relationship between capitalism and utilitarianism. It explored, in particular, how the neoliberal mutation of capitalism in the late twentieth century transformed the relationship between utility and the common good, trapping individuals in what he calls “the futilitarian condition,” where they are forced to maximise utility in ways that lead to the worsening of collective social and economic conditions. An Italian translation of the book, under the title Vite Rubate, was published in March 2022.

In late 2021, Neil was awarded a two-year Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on a project on the historical relationship between neoliberalism and migrant incarceration in Aotearoa and beyond. He is also developing several collaborative research projects on topics relating to social reproduction and essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic, the history of migration policy in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the cultural politics of suicide in public.

Neil’s research has appeared in academic journals such as Rethinking Marxism, Angelaki, and Poetics Today, he has written for media, including New Internationalist, ROAR, and New Zealand Listener, and he has appeared on several podcasts, such as A World to Win with Grace Blakeley, The Postcapitalism Podcast, and the New Books Network.

Neil is a member of the Centre for Global Migrations at Otago, a researcher for the think tank Economic and Social Research Aotearoa, and a member of the Executive Committee for the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy.

Areas of Research Supervision

Neil welcomes research proposals on any topics related to Neoliberalism; Capitalism; Marxist and Critical Theory; Borders; Migration; Migrant Detention; Social Reproduction Theory. 

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Publications

Vallelly, N. (2021). Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness. London, UK: Goldsmiths Press.

Vallelly, N. (2019). The relationality of disappearance. Angelaki, 24(3), 38-52. doi: 10.1080/0969725X.2019.1620450

Vallelly, N. (2019). From the margins of the neoliberal university: Notes toward nomadic literary studies. Poetics Today, 40(1), 59-79. doi: 10.1215/03335372-7259887

Vallelly, N. (2019). "The place was not a place": A critical phenomenology of forced displacement. In E. Champion (Ed.), The phenomenology of real and virtual places. (pp. 204-222). New York, NY: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315106267

Vallelly, N. (2020). Counting the cost: COVID-19 and the crisis of utilitarianism. In V. Lyon-Callo, Y. M. Madra, C. Özselçuk, J. Randall, M. Safri, C. Sato & B. W. Shear (Eds.), Pandemic and the crisis of capitalism: A rethinking Marxism dossier. (pp. 215-223). Boston, MA: ReMarx Books. Retrieved from http://rethinkingmarxism.org/Dossier2020

Vallelly, N. (2021). Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness. London, UK: Goldsmiths Press.

Authored Book - Research

Vallelly, N. (2019). The relationality of disappearance. Angelaki, 24(3), 38-52. doi: 10.1080/0969725X.2019.1620450

Journal - Research Article

Vallelly, N. (2019). From the margins of the neoliberal university: Notes toward nomadic literary studies. Poetics Today, 40(1), 59-79. doi: 10.1215/03335372-7259887

Journal - Research Article

Vallelly, N. (2019). "The place was not a place": A critical phenomenology of forced displacement. In E. Champion (Ed.), The phenomenology of real and virtual places. (pp. 204-222). New York, NY: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315106267

Chapter in Book - Research

Vallelly, N. (2020). Counting the cost: COVID-19 and the crisis of utilitarianism. In V. Lyon-Callo, Y. M. Madra, C. Özselçuk, J. Randall, M. Safri, C. Sato & B. W. Shear (Eds.), Pandemic and the crisis of capitalism: A rethinking Marxism dossier. (pp. 215-223). Boston, MA: ReMarx Books. Retrieved from http://rethinkingmarxism.org/Dossier2020

Chapter in Book - Research

Vallelly, N. (2019). (Non-)belief in things: Affect theory and a new literary materialism. In S. Ahern (Ed.), Affect theory and literary critical practice: A feel for the text. (pp. 45-63). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-97268-8_3

Chapter in Book - Research

Vallelly, N. (2020). The border and the pandemic. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale, 28(2), 373-374. doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12860

Journal - Research Other

Vallelly, N. (2016). Practicing disappearance: A postmodern methodology. Electronic Book Review. Retrieved from https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/practicing-disappearance-a-postmodern-methodology

Journal - Research Article

Vallelly, N. (2022). Vite Rubate: Dal sogno capitalista al futilitarismo [Translation of Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness]. Blu Atlantide, 240p.

Authored Book - Other

Vallelly, N. (2021, September). Bentham in the Beehive: Utilitarianism, neoliberalism and the wellbeing budgets. ESRA (Economic & Social Research Aotearoa), 21. Retrieved from https://esra.nz/bentham-beehive-utilitarianism-neoliberalism-wellbeing-budgets

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2021). Human rights against human rights [Review of the book The morals of the market: Human rights and the rise of neoliberalism]. Counterfutures, 11, 142-153. doi: 10.26686/cf.v11.7357

Journal - Research Other

Vallelly, N. (2022). We need the great revolutions to open the path to freedom [Review of the book Revolution: An intellectual history]. Jacobin, (07.16.2022). Retrieved from https://jacobin.com/2022/07/enzo-traverso-revolution-intellectual-history-book-review

Journal - Research Other

Vallelly, N. (2022). The politics of futility. New Internationalist, (March-April), 65-71.

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2021). Rejecting the existential futility of neoliberal life. ROAR Magazine, (November 2). Retrieved from https://roarmag.org

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2020). The coronavirus decade: Post-capitalist nightmare or socialist awakening? ROAR Magazine, (May 3). Retrieved from https://roarmag.org

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2020). The self-help myth. New Internationalist, (2 June). Retrieved from https://newint.org/features/2020/04/07/feature

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2020). Neoliberalism under threat: Coronoavirus and the return of the social. Discover Society, (1 April). Retrieved from https://archive.discoversociety.org/2020/04/01/neoliberalism-under-threat-coronavirus-and-the-return-of-the-social

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2016). Double trouble. New Zealand Listener, (6 August), 32-33.

Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Vallelly, N. (2022, February). Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness: An interview with Neil Vallelly. New Books in Education, New Books Network Podcast, hosted by Thomas Discenna. Retrieved from https://newbooksnetwork.com/futilitarianism

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2022, February). Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness. Plastic Pills: Philosophy & Critical Theory podcast. Retrieved from https://open.spotify.com/episode/4LVclNzlsdfLH6hCyhIlrV

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2022, February). Neil Vallelly on precarity, debt, and how to overcome futilitarianism. Postcapitalism podcast. Retrieved from https://postcapitalismpodcast.com/neil-vallelly

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2021, November). Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness: An interview with Neil Vallelly. A World to Win Podcast, from Tribune and Grace Blakeley. Retrieved from https://tribunemag.co.uk/2021/11/58-neoliberalism-and-the-production-of-uselessness-an-interview-with-neil-vallelly

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2021, November). Futilitarianism. PERC Goldsmiths Podcast with Will Davies. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/user-149686671/perc-podcast-with-neil-vallelly-futilitarianism

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2021, November). The futilitarian condition. This is Hell! Podcast. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/this-is-hell/tih20211130

Other Research Output

Vallelly, N. (2021, June). Futilitarianism: What's the point? Radio New Zealand, Nights with Bryan Crump. Retrieved from https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/2018801044/futilitarianism-what-s-the-point

Other Research Output

Whyte, J., Vallelly, N., & Di Muzio, T. (2021, December). Neil Vallelly, Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the production of uselessness (Goldsmiths Press, 2021) [Book Panel]. Panel discussion at the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) Conference, [Online].

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Murtola, A.-M., & Vallelly, N. (2021, September). Caring for wellbeing: Social reproduction and the politics of essential workers. Verbal presentation at the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE) Annual Conference: The Pandemic and the Future of Capitalism, [Online].

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Vallelly, N. (2021, July). Bentham in the Beehive: Utilitarianism, neoliberalism, and the wellbeing budgets. The University of Auckland Critical Theory Network, Auckland, New Zealand. [Research Presentation (External Institution)].

Other Research Output

Barber, S., Rākete, E., Rata, A., & Vallelly, N. (2020, November). Indigenous internationalism against regimes of race and deportation. Verbal presentation at the Social Movements, Resistance, & Social Change (SMRSC) Conference: Activating Collectivity: Aroha and Power, Wellington, New Zealand.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Boochani, B., Tofighian, O., & Vallelly, N. (2019, June). Out of place: Reclaiming narratives of refugee incarceration. Panel discussion at the Philosophy Beyond the "Now", Auckland, New Zealand.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Vallelly, N. (2018). 'The place was not a place': A critical phenomenology of forced displacement. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP). (pp. 95). Retrieved from https://www.ascp.org.au

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Vallelly, N. (2018, October). Re-thinking place in the age of global displacement: Lessons from phenomenology. Verbal presentation at the Spring School in Contemporary Phenomenology & Philosophy of Mind, Valparaiso, Chile.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Vallelly, N. (2016, December). Sites of disappearance: Towards a phenomenology of traces. Verbal presentation at the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

More publications...