Pitch Sessions

Pitch sessions offer a forum for the presentation of either (1) ideas developed sufficiently to represent research work-in-progress; and/or (2) conference presentations or more fully developed work at the level of an impending journal submission or book draft.

In all cases, the aim is to provide opportunities for a platform for individual research as well as identify possible opportunities for collaborative work. Proposals for pitch sessions are open to both individual presenters (involving a presentation of approximately 30 minutes with discussion to follow); or as a 'roundtable' format (involving 15-20 minute presentations by several speakers on related topics with discussion to follow).

If you would like to present a pitch session, please propose a topic to one of the members of the Management Committee of the Markets and Socity Research Network.

"Market Society on a World Scale, the Movie (no, the Research Project)"

Tuesday 8 June
New Law School Seminar 115
Speaker: Professor Raewyn Connell

The aim of this project is to produce a sociology of contemporary market society that makes a quantum advance from current analyses by giving a central place to the experience, and the ideas, of the global periphery. Specifically, the project aims (a) to make a critical analysis of the intellectual responses to market society emerging from the global periphery; (b) to integrate this with the body of empirical work on transitions to market society; and (c) to make field studies that will test and develop this synthesis.

The global periphery is a rich source of social thought. An emerging body of writing traces the "alternative discourses" in Asian social science, the varieties of "southern theory", and the "diverse sociological traditions" worldwide. Latin America, for instance, not only gave rise to the well-known "dependence" theories in the 1950s and 60s, but has continued to generate intense and sophisticated debates about recent social change and about coloniality itself. In sub-Saharan Africa there has been equally intense debate about the relations between indigenous and Western knowledge systems. It is clear that 21st century social science can be dramatically enriched by integrating the experience and the social thought of colonial and post-colonial social formations. Difficult as this task is, it needs to be undertaken; and social scientists in Australia are in a strong position to share in it and even lead it. The central idea of the project is to bring this wealth of social thought to bear on the social transition of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the emergence of new forms of market society on a world scale.

"The Strange Death of Neoliberalism"

Friday 30 April
New Law School Seminar 102
Speakers: Dr Bill Dunn and Dr Damien Cahill

In the wake of the global financial crisis many commentators have pronounced neoliberalism dead. This seminar critically examines such arguments and the typically idealist assumptions upon which they are based. In doing so it considers broader questions about the meaning and utility of the concept of neoliberalism and the role of ideas in economic and policy change.


Idealist accounts of neoliberalism and its demise
Damien Cahill
This paper examines the idealist underpinnings of recent claims that neoliberalism is dead. It is argued that such claims tend to conflate neoliberal theory and practice and assume that ideas are the primary drivers of political economic change. This idealist position is critiqued by pointing to the centrality of the state in the expanded reproduction of neoliberalism; the role of institutional mediation and conflict between social groups in the formation of neoliberal economic regulation; and the complex relationships between neoliberal theory and practice.

Neoliberalism: the case of the missing corpse
Bill Dunn
It is obvious neither what characterized neo-liberalism in life nor by what criteria it is now reckoned to have expired. This paper adopts a multidimensional framework for evaluating social change suggested by Robert Cox’s identification of the mutual interaction of ideas, institutions and material capabilities and of world order, states and social forces. This raises questions whether neo-liberalism can be pronounced dead and indeed whether it ever lived as more than an ill defined ideological spectre.