Students

FOAR7007 – Research Theme 3: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents

2021 – Session 1, Special circumstances, North Ryde

Notice

As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group activities on campus, and most will keep an online version available to those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face-to-face and online activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convener
Ben Spies-Butcher
Room 316, Level 3, 25C Wally's Walk
By appointment
Co-Convener
Jean-Philippe Deranty
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit introduces key themes and theorists in contemporary social and political theory. In particular, it will explore competing diagnoses and responses to the winding back of the post-war compromises between democratic states and corporate capitalism. Rather than taking a serial approach to a study of social and political theories, the unit will focus on their, at times diametrically opposed, configurations of this broad problem complex. In an epoch in which neoliberal agendas have both provoked, and perhaps also been facilitated by, the surge of populist politics across the globe, we look to contemporary social and political theories to help us make sense of new developments, to diagnose their costs and unravel future potentials. Can social democratic reformism survive the era of Trump, Brexit and Hanson? Organised as a workshop series, the unit will draw from leading theorists such as: Agamben, Boltanski, Brown, Chakrabarty, Fraser, Foucault, Habermas, Harvey, Honneth, Peck. Examining a problematic that is of foundational importance in much current social and political research, this unit is relevant to students across the humanities and social sciences.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Articulate a clear and coherent argument in written form to a variety of audiences
  • ULO2: Think critically and make informed judgements of the arguments of others to arrive and reasoned and meaningful arguments and apply new ideas to new contexts
  • ULO3: Demonstrate the ability to apply accumulated knowledge and skills to make decisions in the context of professional practice and scholarship
  • ULO4: Demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct in research activities and relationship

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Participation Assessment 20% No Ongoing
Short piece 30% No April 2nd
Research essay 50% No 4th June

Participation Assessment

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 39 hours
Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 20%

This assessment will be marked in two components. The first will be based on being a ‘lead respondent’ in one of the weeks of the course. Responding will involve leading the discussion by making a brief comment and/or asking a question based on the reading to draw out the discussion. The second component is active engagement in seminars across the semester.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Articulate a clear and coherent argument in written form to a variety of audiences
  • Think critically and make informed judgements of the arguments of others to arrive and reasoned and meaningful arguments and apply new ideas to new contexts

Short piece

Assessment Type 1: Reflective Writing
Indicative Time on Task 2: 22 hours
Due: April 2nd
Weighting: 30%

This assignment involves you exploring how neoliberalism is being used in public debate. You will write a blog post (900 words) or make a short podcast (15 min) where you engage with a piece of writing or media that applies the concept of neoliberalism, and reflect on how the term is being used drawing on the material in the first 5 weeks of the unit. This is not a traditional research essay, and we do not expect a full reference list or formal referencing. However, the piece should use links or (verbal) references to key thinkers or texts to guide the audience to see the links between theories/theorists from the course and your analysis.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Articulate a clear and coherent argument in written form to a variety of audiences
  • Think critically and make informed judgements of the arguments of others to arrive and reasoned and meaningful arguments and apply new ideas to new contexts

Research essay

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 50 hours
Due: 4th June
Weighting: 50%

This is a more traditional research essay. The aim is to discuss the concept of neoliberalism and its utility within your home discipline. We will work with you across the semester to develop a specific question/focus, particularly after the semester break. This is also an opportunity to think about how the concept might or might not be useful for your Year 2 research project.

Word length: 4,000 words


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Articulate a clear and coherent argument in written form to a variety of audiences
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply accumulated knowledge and skills to make decisions in the context of professional practice and scholarship
  • Demonstrate high standards of ethical conduct in research activities and relationship

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Unit Sessions

For on campus and special circumstances students, we plan to run a joint seminar, with some students participating via Zoom, subject to numbers and logistics. We will also provide pre-recorded material for most seminars. Fully online students will engage via online forums.

Required and recommended resources

Required readings are online available via Leganto (see below). You might also find Damien Cahill and Martijn Koning's Neoliberalism helpful. It is available at the library here: https://multisearch.mq.edu.au/discovery/search?vid=61MACQUARIE_INST:MQ&institution=MQ&query=any,exact,99244754003502171&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI

Technology used

The following technologies are used in this unit...

Email

Make sure that you regularly check your student email for correspondence with teaching staff and course announcements.

iLearn

Important information about the weekly schedule, course readings and assessment are all available on the course iLearn page. If you do not have access, please contact IT help. You are required to check iLearn and your student email regularly for course updates and information.

Turnitin

All written assessments need to be submitted online via Turnitin only. A link to Turnitin is available via the Assessments tab on the iLearn page. Please contact the convenor if you cannot find it (do not leave it until the day of the assessment). There is no need to submit a hard copy of the assessment or to include a cover sheet.

Grademark

Feedback will be made available online via GradeMark. It will take four forms (in no particular order): specific comments in the text of your paper; overall comments; a score on a qualitative rubric (that cannot be used to calculate your mark numerically); and a numeric score. Once you have received your assignment back, please make sure that you have access to these forms of feedback. 

Leganto

Leganto is the electronic system for accessing unit readings that can be accessed via the iLearn page. Readings are allocated via topic. As well as the required readings for each topic, you will find recommended and optional readings. The required readings are available in pdf or electronic format. If you are not able to access the readings, please contact the unit convenor via email.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-conduct

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

We have introduced additional discussion of the implications of the COVID crisis.

This unit was co-taught in 2020 with Noah Bassil. Noah will continue to offer some guest lectures, but will not be attending seminars across the semester.