• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Gender Studies, Policy Studies, Sociology, Economic History, Political Economy
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Melinda Cooper
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

The term "neoliberalism" refers to an intellectual movement dating back to the 1930s and to the political movement that translated these ideas into policy practice beginning in the 1970s. The movement inspired a backlash against the mid-century welfare state and sought to achieve a complete transformation of social, economic and political life in accordance with free market principles. This course will offer an introduction to the concept and practices of neoliberalism from a sociological perspective. It will introduce students to major texts and authors in the emerging field of neoliberalism studies and examine the key intellectual controversies. Topics to be covered include neoliberalism and the ideology of the free market, neoliberalism and the welfare state, neoliberalism and the transformation of the social world, neoliberalism and gender, taxation and public spending austerity, and the relationship between neoliberalism and social conservatism. While theoretical texts will be drawn from multiple contexts, special attention will be paid to the roll out of neoliberalism in Australia.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. understand the basic contours of neoliberalism as a thought collective and policy practice;
  2. recognise and engage with key concepts and debates in the field of neoliberalism studies;
  3. use sociological concepts and approaches to grapple with the impact of neoliberalism in diverse social arenas, including work, welfare, and care; and
  4. intervene in debates on neoliberalism by developing their own critical perspective.

Other Information

This course will be cross-listed in the Gender, Sexuality and Culture Studies Major and Minor.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Critical review, 1500 words
    (40) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Major essay, 3000 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and tutorial-like activities; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level Sociology (SOCY), Criminology (CRIM), History (HIST) or Political Science (POLS) courses; or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable

Preliminary Reading

Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society. New York: Verso, 2013.

David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2005.

Elizabeth Humphrys .How Labor Built Neoliberalism: Australia's Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Philip Mendes. Australia's Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies. Kensington: UNSW Press, 2017.

Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, eds, The Road from Mont-Pelerin – The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009.

Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Ben Spies-Butcher. Politics, Inequality and the Australian Welfare State after Liberalisation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023.

Eve Vincent. Who Cares? Life on Welfare in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2023.

Assumed Knowledge



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9124 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person View

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