Six theories of Neoliberalism

Flew, Terry (2012) Six theories of Neoliberalism. In Emerging and Enduring Inequalities : the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2012, 26-29 November 2012, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)

Abstract

This paper takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept that is ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’ (Mudge 2008: 703). It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalism to include:

(1) an all-purpose denunciatory category; (2) ‘the way things are’; (3) a particular institutional framework characterizing Anglo-American forms of national capitalism; (4) a dominant ideology of global capitalism; (5) a form of governmentality and hegemony; and (6) a variant within the broad framework of liberalism as both theory and policy discourse.

It is argued that this sprawling set of definitions are not mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to be dramatically narrowed from its current association with anything and everything that a particular author may find objectionable. In particular, it is argued that the uses of the term by Michel Foucault in his 1978-79 lectures, found in The Birth of Biopolitics (Foucault, 2008) are not particularly compatible with its more recent status as a variant of dominant ideology or hegemony theories.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 58620
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Foucault, governmentality, neoliberalism, hegemony, political ideology, new institutionalism, public policy
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Policy (160510)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Theory (160806)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Cultural Theory (200204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SPECIFIC FIELDS (220200) > History of Ideas (220209)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Past > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Terry Flew
Deposited On: 24 Mar 2013 23:51
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 01:29

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