Political Economy: The Social Sciences' Red Pill
On the survival of non-capitalism: from nowhere to now here

Call for Papers: From Economic Rationalism to Global Neoliberalism?

by Tom Barnes on May 26, 2016

From Economic Rationalism to Global Neoliberalism?

A Workshop for Early-Career and Postgraduate Researchers

RMIT, Melbourne, Fri 2nd December, 2016

Hosted by The Australian Sociological Association’s (TASA) Sociology of Economic Life thematic group and Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT


Pusey bookThis year marks the 25th anniversary of Michael Pusey’s seminal text of economic sociology, Economic Rationalism in Canberra. Pusey’s book helped instigate a national conversation and publicised the concept of ‘economic rationalism’. It was ranked by TASA as one of the 10 most influential books in four decades of Australian sociology and described by The Age as a ‘celebrated analysis of how economic rationalism came to dominate policy making in Canberra’.

Today, the idea of ‘neoliberalism’ has entered into widespread use in the academy, society and social movements, evoking many of the free market, anti-statist notions critiqued in Pusey’s work. Despite short-lived claims that the 2008 global recession would bury neoliberalism, the politics of free markets and austerity seems as dominant as ever, in Australia and globally. Moreover, scholarship and debate about neoliberalism has exploded in the last quarter of a century.

In this context, this workshop offers a chance for emerging scholars undertaking studies of neoliberalism and economic rationalism, as it manifests in Australia and globally, to present their research at a day-long event in Melbourne. Held the day after TASA’s annual conference in Melbourne, this workshop will offer Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students and Early-Career Researchers (i.e., within five years of their PhD award) the chance to present their research in a supportive environment of peer-to-peer discussion and mentorship from leading scholars, including Michael Pusey who will read papers and provide extensive feedback.

We invite abstracts of 100-150 words and a brief (i.e., 50 words or less) biographical note, which should include reference to your HDR/ECR status. Authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit full papers of between 4000-7000 words (double-spaced) including tables, notes and references. We welcome research that focuses on any aspect of neoliberalism or economic rationalism within sociology as well as cognizant disciplines such as political science, political economy, geography, etc. Accepted papers will receive critical feedback by a senior scholar (who will also act as discussant) and at least one ECR/HDR peer at the workshop. Authors of accepted papers are expected to make a brief presentation of their paper at the workshop.

We plan to submit selected papers as a special section for the Journal of Sociology or a similar journal in the field (where they would be subject to the normal refereeing process). Please note that, as we cannot offer financial subsidies for participants, we particularly encourage those presenting papers at the 2016 TASA conference to submit papers for this workshop. (Note that TASA conference abstracts are due by 17th June, 2016 – for details, visit http://conference.tasa.org.au/).

Authors of accepted papers will be expected to be available for the full day of the workshop. We welcome papers exploring the following, and other, topics and questions related to the theme of the workshop:

  • What is the nature of economic rationalism and neoliberalism today, in Australia or elsewhere?
  • Are economic rationalism and neoliberalism the same thing?
  • Should we understand contemporary economic policy making as a form of zombie economics?
  • Is the term ‘neoliberalism’ useful?
  • Is there a distinctively Australian variety of neoliberalism?
  • How has the nature of the market, individuals, and society changed since the late 1970s?
  • What are the implications of relying on markets and money to measure values? What happens to values when they are translated into a form that is legible to markets?
  • Have economic rationalism and neoliberalism been successful? In what ways?
  • Is it correct to argue that neoliberal economic reform represents a political project that shifts income and power to corporations and elites?

Please submit abstracts, following the specifications above, to tom.barnes@acu.edu.au or elizabeth.humphrys@uts.edu.au (co-conveners of Sociology of Economic Life thematic group, TASA) no later than Mon 27th June, 2016. (Authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit full papers for peer review within approx. 2-3 months of notified acceptance.) If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

Tom Barnes
Tom Barnes is an economic sociologist and ARC DECRA fellow at Australian Catholic University (ACU). His research primarily focuses on insecure, precarious and informal work in Asia (especially India) and Australia. He is involved in two current ARC-funded projects which focus on the demise of Australian automotive manufacturing and the impact on workers and communities in closure-affected regions. He completed his PhD in political economy at the University of Sydney in 2011. He has written two books, Informal Labour in Urban India: Three Cities, Three Journeys (Routledge, 2015) and Making Cars in the New India: Industry, Precarity & Informality (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He is currently formulating a new project on labour movements and global warehousing/logistics.

Leave a Response

Developed by Cemal Burak Tansel // Powered by Wordpress