Remaking Market Society

Seminar presented by Professor Alan Scott

3:00pm Tuesday 24 October 2017

Oorala Lecture Theatre, UNE


This seminar will review the core arguments presented in Antonino Palumbo and Alan Scott Remaking Market Society (Routledge). In the extensive debate on neoliberalism, the term has become overextended. As Michael Storper has recently noted, its ‘polysemic’ usage ‘facilitates an indiscriminate critique of capitalism’. Rather than abandon the concept (as some have proposed), we seek to bring analytical clarity. Building on a critical reading of Karl Polanyi, we interpret neo-liberalism neither through the lens of (neo-Marxist) political economy nor that of postmodern social theory. Rather, we view the New Public Management ‘template’ as a form of statecraft compatible with what Michael Moran has called hyper-innovation: not just the proliferation of rules, but also of types of rules, which have further concentrated power while defusing responsibility. In this sense what we see is a continuation of the forces of rationalization and centralization identified in classical modernist social theory. We seek to identify the policy sets that have been flexibly combined to construct and defuse the NPM template. In order to resist the temptation of nostalgia for the welfare state and Keynesian settlement, we finally address the question why the coalition that supported that settlement succumbed in the face of the neoliberal reform movement.


Alan Scott is Professor of Sociology. He has taught and researched in universities in UK and Austria as well as Australia. In 2008 he was Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), University of Cambridge. In 2009 he held the Vincent Wright Visiting Chair in Sciences Po, Paris. Between 2013-2016 he was Vice President (for humanities and social sciences) of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in Vienna. His main areas of research are in political and organisational sociology, and in social theory.

Launch seminar recording