Making history beyond neoliberalism: Response to Roper
Neilson, D. (2011). Making history beyond neoliberalism: Response to Roper. New Zealand Sociology, 26(2), 66-76.
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Roper (2011a, p. 39) sums up his account of neoliberalism in New Zealand with the following conclusion: “In the absence of a major upsurge in working class and social movement struggle, the neoliberal policy regime is likely to remain firmly in place.” The bulk of his article lends weight to this conclusion in the course of offering a detailed analysis of National’s neoliberalism and New Zealand’s social inequality. In his final assessment Roper turns to list mid-range factors that underpin his conclusion. In particular, he refers to structural constraints resulting from the neoliberalisation of New Zealand’s financial regime; neoliberalisation of the outlooks of successive New Zealand Governments since 1984; and the balance of class forces in favour of capital (pp.37-8). This response focuses, first, on building a sympathetic analysis of these mid-range factors which are linked here with the form and dynamic of the ‘neoliberal model of development’ (Neilson, 2011). In his conclusion Roper also states that if there is an upsurge in social movement and working class politics ‘then the question of alternatives to neoliberalism will come to the forefront of New Zealand politics’ (Roper, 2011a, p. 39). The second theme of this essay is linked to an exploratory discussion of why this might or might not happen and how more specifically a ‘counter-hegemonic project’ could be more consciously constructed and actively pursued.
Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
This article has been published in the journal: New Zealand Sociology. © New Zealand Sociology. Used with permission.