Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Software, Sovereignty and the Post-Neoliberal Politics of Exit

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Harrison Smith, Emeritus Professor Roger BurrowsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper examines the impact of neoreactionary (NRx) thinking – that of Curtis Yarvin, Nick Land, Peter Thiel and Patri Friedman in particular – on contemporary political debates manifest in ‘architectures of exit’. We specifically focus on Urbit, as an NRx digital architecture that captures how postneoliberal politics imagines notions of freedom and sovereignty through a micro-fracturing of nation-states into 'gov-corps'. We trace the development of NRx philosophy – and situate this within contemporary political and technological change to theorize the significance of exit manifest within the notion of ‘dynamic geographies’. While technological programmes such as Urbit may never ultimately succeed, we argue that these, and other speculative investments such as ‘seasteading’, reflect broader postneoliberal NRx imaginaries that were, perhaps, prefigured a quarter of a century ago in The Sovereign Individual.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smith H, Burrows R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Theory, Culture & Society

Year: 2021

Volume: 38

Issue: 6

Pages: 143-166

Print publication date: 01/11/2021

Online publication date: 09/04/2021

Acceptance date: 15/08/2020

Date deposited: 21/08/2020

ISSN (print): 1460-3616

ISSN (electronic): 0263-2764

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0263276421999439


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric