2016 marked the 25th anniversary of Michael Pusey’s seminal text of economic sociology, Economic Rationalism in Canberra. As a detailed analysis of top bureaucrats in Canberra who had adopted free market ideas and the transformation of public policymaking, Pusey’s book helped instigate a national conversation and publicised the concept of ‘economic rationalism’. It was ranked by TASA as one of the 10 most influential books in four decades of Australian sociology and described by The Age as a ‘celebrated analysis of how economic rationalism came to dominate policy making in Canberra’.
Today, the idea of ‘neoliberalism’ has entered into widespread use in the academy, society and social movements, evoking many of the free market, anti-statist notions critiqued in Pusey’s work. In this context, the Sociology of Economy Life thematic Group of the Australian Sociological Association held an early career workshop —’From economic rationalism to global neoliberalism? Marking 25 years since Economic Rationalism in Canberra’ — to commemorate the publication of the book. The workshop provided an opportunity for emerging scholars undertaking cutting-edge studies of neoliberalism and economic rationalism—as it manifests in Australia and globally—to present their research at a day-long event at RMIT in Melbourne.
The workshop resulted in the publication of a special section of the current issue of the Journal of Sociology, which is now available online. The special section was edited by Tom Barnes (ACU), Michael Pusey (UNSW) and myself. the section includes my article ‘Simultaneously deepening corporatism and advancing neoliberalism: Australia under the Accord‘ is part of the special section.
Many thanks to Tom Barnes for leading the special section, Michael Pusey for co-editing it with us, and congratulations to the other authors. Thank you to the editors of the Journal of Sociology, for facilitating the publication of the special section.
Special Section, Journal of Sociology
— Tom Barnes, Elizabeth Humphrys and Michael Pusey (pp. 3-11)
— Michael Pusey (pp. 12-17)
‘Who wouldn’t want more efficiency? Analysing the construction of efficiency as a ‘truth’ within policy discourses’
— Patrick O’Keeffee (pp. 18-32)
— Ben Gook (pp. 33-48)
— Elizabeth Humphrys (pp. 49-63)
— Claire Parfitt (pp. 64-76)
— Cameron Smith (pp. 92-107)