Great transformations : Karl Polanyi and Nikolas Rose on the shifting fortunes of social strategies of government : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Arts in Sociology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis seeks to make sense of the emergence of neoliberalism at the close of the twentieth century and the subsequent appearance of Third Way strategies of government in recent decades. In so doing it deals comparatively with the work of two very different, yet nevertheless both increasingly influential theorists of social change - Karl Polanyi and Nikolas Rose. In the middle decades of the twentieth century Karl Polanyi theorized what he held to be the inevitable shift from a market society to one in which the economy was embedded in a web of social relations. Some half century later in the 1990s, Nikolas Rose theorized the 'death of the social', the process by which the social logic that underpinned Western welfare states for much of the twentieth- century is giving way to a new formula for rule. Rose terms this new way of governing advanced liberalism. This thesis argues that an approach to neoliberalism and the third way that employs both Polanyi's analytical and critical tools as well as the insights gained from Nikolas Rose's governmentality studies can help to render neoliberalism both visible and contestable in new ways. Further such an approach might serve to illuminate potential paths forward.