This article addresses the role public intellectuals and cultural workers might play in challenging the pervasive institutional and ideological influ ence of neoliberalism as it continues to attack all public spaces and social services not governed by the logic of the market. The author takes up this challenge by articulating a relationship between the political and peda gogical that is central to any notion of cultural politics. In doing so, he attempts to foreground how the diverse forms of critical pedagogy and cul tural studies can engage in progressive cultural politics through the interre lated registers of insurgent citizenship, a performative critical pedagogy, and a contextualized notion of political agency. The interconnected con cepts of discourse, context, power, and theory are used to critique notions of textuality that refuse to link the symbolic to material relations of power and to engage the limits of dystopian performative work that fails in spite of its appeal to the transgressive to address urgent social issues. The author concludes by pointing to a number of cultural activists whose work embod ies a radical intersection of the performative and the political.