Theory and Society

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 117–138 | Cite as

Where in the world does neoliberalism come from?

The market agenda in southern perspective
  • Raewyn Connell
  • Nour Dados


Neoliberalism is generally understood as a system of ideas circulated by a network of right-wing intellectuals, or as an economic system mutation resulting from crises of profitability in capitalism. Both interpretations prioritize the global North. We propose an approach to neoliberalism that prioritizes the experience of the global South, and sees neoliberalism gaining its main political strength as a development strategy displacing those hegemonic before the 1970s. From Southern perspectives, a distinct set of issues about neoliberalism becomes central: the formative role of the state, including the military; the expansion of world commodity trade, including minerals; agriculture, informality, and the transformation of rural society. Thinkers from the global South who have foregrounded these issues need close attention from the North and exemplify a new architecture of knowledge in critical social science.


Neoliberalism Global South Market Intellectuals State Trade Agriculture Informal economy Development 



This work was supported by the Australian Research Council’s discovery project grant DP 110102372, “The making of market society on a world scale”. We are grateful for advice from many colleagues, especially in the reading group associated with the project, and at annual conferences of The Australian Sociological Association.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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