Neoliberal Capitalism: Society and Political Economy SOCIO4109

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course seeks to help students understand capitalist development from the mid-1970s through the concept of 'neoliberalism', in relation to society, economics, politics and culture.


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops.

Requirements of Entry

In order to take this course you need to have met the requirements for entry into our Honours Programme. Basically, this means achieving a grade of 'D' or better in Sociology 1A and 1B and a 'C' or better in Sociology 2A and 2B. You also have to comply with the College of Social Science regulations for progression to Honours.

Excluded Courses





A 4,000-word essay.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course seeks to:

■ introduce students to the concept of "neoliberalism" as a means of understanding capitalist development since the mid-1970s;

■ explore neoliberalism as a totality, showing the inter-relationship between economy, polity, society and culture; and

■ show how social theory in general and sociology in particular has responded to neoliberalism.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. explain the extent to which neoliberalism constitutes a distinct stage in the development of capitalism;

2. identity the different phases of the neoliberal era, from its origins through the successive 'vanguard', 'social' and current 'crisis' modes;

3. access the different theoretical approaches to neoliberalism ranging from those which see it as primarily ideologically-driven to those which see it primarily as a pragmatic response to economic crisis; and

4. judge the extent to which neoliberalism involves both continuity with and change from the previous period of 'embedded social-democracy'

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.