Rethinking British neoliberalism

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Event Date : 11 Sep, 2017 - 12 Sep, 2017

Summary :

‘Neoliberalism’ is often used in contemporary political debate to indicate an ill-defined hegemonic discourse or political project assumed to have triumphed in late twentieth and early twenty-first century politics.

Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2017.

Rethinking British neoliberalism Details

Venue :
City :
Country :
United Kingdom
Organiser :
Name: Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Email:, Institution: UCL

‘Neoliberalism’ is generally taken, in this reading, to be a right-wing formation, promoted by political economists, think-tanks, and politicians. Such an account is highly problematic, however. There is an emerging body of historiography giving a more complex and nuanced account of the origins and practice of neoliberalism and challenging simplistic accounts of ‘neoliberal governmentality’. This conference will bring together some of this work.

We are interested in receiving paper proposals which approach the subject from a variety of directions; in particular, we would be interested in papers:

  • historicizing the term ‘neoliberalism’ and its different meanings;
  • giving a nuanced account of the different and changing strands of neoliberalism;
  • questioning who the most important agents promoting neoliberalism really were;
  • questioning whether neoliberalism has been solely or predominantly a right-wing phenomenon, or if it has some autonomous roots in left-wing thinking;
  • questioning how far neoliberalism really ‘triumphed’ in the 1980s and beyond, including the New Labour years;
  • questioning whether ‘neoliberal governmentality’ has really been internalised by people in Britain;
  • placing the ‘neoliberal’ moment in the context of longer-term economic and social histories of Britain;
  • comparative views of the ‘neoliberal’ moment in Britain and elsewhere;
  • inter-disciplinary perspectives.

Thanks to the generous financial support of the Economic History Society we are able to pay reasonable travel and accommodation expenses for early career researchers and PhD students from within the UK. We will also be able to subsidise, or, we hope, pay in full, the expenses of others giving papers. We encourage submissions from PhD students and ECRs.

Following the conference, we intend to produce an edited volume (published in open-access format by UCL press) showcasing cutting-edge work rethinking British neoliberalism. We hope most or all of the papers will subsequently be submitted for inclusion in this volume.

Please send paper proposals of c. 500 words to Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite and Aled Davies by 31 January 2017. If you would be interested in attending and/or commenting/chairing a panel please also email us by 31 January.

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