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50 Years of Sociology

At the University of Cambridge

This panel addresses the historical antecedents, contemporary characteristics, and future trajectories of a political economic landscape characterised by processes of neoliberalism and financialisation. Panellists explore the conceptual arsenal available for understanding changing political economies, and highlight the consequences of the increasing weight of finance on the workings of the economy, the work force, higher education and party politics.

Date: Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 11:30 to 13:00

Location: Riley Auditorium

Panel Overview:

The causes and consequences of the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) have been widely identified as failures of neoliberal policy making, yet neoliberal ideas still dominate the political economy of Britain, the US, and other states. Nonetheless, although neoliberalism is evoked frequently in critical analyses, the term has been criticised for being concept-stretched. As a result, there is a lack of academic consensus on its exact meaning, not to mention how it links with finance-led regimes of accumulation.

A number of critical questions will be used to structure the discussion:

  • How can we conceptualise neoliberalism and financialisation, and how have these conceptualisations altered since their inception.
  • What are the main defining characteristics of the current political economic system?
  • How has the neoliberal regime, with its focus on ever-expanding markets, impacted upon different sectors of the economy and its actors?
  • Can financialisation be considered a distinct set of economic ideas from those of neoliberalism?
  • How relevant is the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis for understanding today´s economy, and why do finance-led accumulation regimes continue to dominate?
  • How can studies of neoliberalism and/or financialisation help us understand changing institutional forms (i.e. pension funds, higher education, personal credit, etc.) and recent political mobilisation (i.e. the rise of populism)?
  • What form is the political economic sphere taking, and what are its future trajectories?
Panel Members:
Video Recording:

View on Youtube.