Neoliberalism has been one of the most hotly contested themes in academic and political debate over the last 30 years. Given the global and persistent influence of neoliberal ideas on contemporary styles of governance, social-service provision, and public policy, this intensive interest is understandable. At the same time, the use of the term has become loose, vague, and over-extended, particularly in the extensive critical literature. Rather than engage in further critique, or in the reconstruction of the history of neoliberalism, this volume seeks to bring analytical clarity to the ongoing debate.
Drawing inspiration from the work of the Hungarian economic historian, Karl Polanyi, Remaking Market Society combines critique, original formulations, and case studies to form an analytical framework that identifies the key instruments of neoliberal governance. These include privatization, marketization, and liberalization. The case studies examine the development of neoliberal instruments (reform of the British civil service); their refinement (reform of higher education in England and Wales); and their dissemination across national borders (EU integration policies). Rather than look back nostalgically on the post-war welfare-state settlement, in the final chapter the authors ask why the coalitions that supported that settlement broke down in the face of the neoliberal reform movement.
This highly original work offers a distinctive transdisciplinary approach to political economy, and therefore is an important read for students and academics who are interested in political economy as well as social theory and political philosophy.
Modernity: continuity and change
1 Social theory as critique of political economy: the Polanyian synthesis and its influence
2 Theories of the second modernity: a critique
3 A modernist counternarrative
Models and cases: the New Public Management template
4 New Public Management and the British civil service: setting the template of a complex policy instrument
5 Refining the template: NPM in British higher education
6 Exporting the template: EU integration policies and the diffusion of the NPM template
7 Conclusion: is knowledge the new fictitious commodity?