Neoliberalism: Dominant Narratives and Counter Cases

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association Conference, 2015, pp. 167 - 173
Issue Date:
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Most critical scholars posit that the Accord social contract is in competition with, or a buffer against, the roll-out of neoliberalism in Australia. However, the driving force and achievement of the Accord was its agenda of wage cutting and its role in driving the disorganisation of the labour movement — both also key objectives of neoliberal projects. Although corporatism, as a consensual process of political-economic decision making, appears on the surface inconsistent with neoliberalism, it is in fact deeply correlated in the case of Australia. This paper argues that when the Accord is analysed as a process of class rule, and as the form that neoliberalism took, its mechanisms and content are better understood. I use Gramsci’s notion of the integral state to explore the reciprocal interpenetration and buttressing of ‘political society’ and ‘civil society’ (within a state-form) in the Accord era. Subsequently, I argue that the Accord ensured the state could secure the hegemonic project of the capitalist class, through the integration of organised labour into the dominant project.
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