Summer School: How to write the history of neoliberalism?

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5-9 July 2021 the Research School for Political History organizes a summer school on ‘how to write the history of neoliberalism’. Register before 1 February 2021, by sending an email to

Writing the history of neoliberalism

Recently, many politicians, policy makers and commentators have announced the death of neoliberalism. This is remarkable in itself, as it is unclear how ideologies can die. But it is even more remarkable, because until recently, many people doubted whether neoliberalism actually existed, or if it was only a swearword used to decry all that progressives were opposed to. This summer school starts from the assumption that neoliberalism actually exists, and has a much longer history than assumed in the more familiar accounts that relate it to the rise of Thatcherism and Reagonomics in the early 1980s. It differs from other ideologies, because it has not manifested itself in the familiar form of political movements and parties like socialism, liberalism or conservatism and Christian democracy. Yet it has a crucial impact on policies at the local, national and international level, contributing not only to reform policies of the IMF, World Bank and the EU, but also to the austerity policies and the reform of the national welfare state, and on the street level bureaucracies geared towards the production of an ‘entrepreneurial self’.

As such, the question how to write the history of neoliberalism creates a series of intellectual challenges that will be addressed in this summer school:

  • How to conceptualize neoliberalism?
  • How does the history of its manifestations impact our understanding of political ideologies and movements?
  • How to account for the variety of neoliberalism(s) in various temporal and spatial contexts?
  • How to account for the relation between political ideologies, political and policy networks, policy changes and institutional reform?
  • What are methods, techniques and sources for the study of ideological development, the history of political movements, and political reform and policy change?

These questions will be discussed in an interactive form, with keynote lectures, seminars, independent study, and presentations. Teachers in the summer school are members of the research project Market makers. The history of neoliberalism in the Netherlands 1945-2008 (

  • Prof.dr. Ido de Haan (Utrecht University)
  • Prof.dr. Ewald Engelen (University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr. Bram Mellink (Utrecht University/University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr. Merijn Oudenampsen (University of Amsterdam)
  • Drs. Naomi Woltring (Utrecht University)


  • In the week before the start of the summer school, participants have to submit a preliminary position paper of 1000 words, reflecting on a limited set of readings made available before the start of the summer school. (20% of the final grade)
  • During the summer school, participants prepare an oral presentation of 10 minutes of the outline of their research paper and offer peer review to the presentation of other participants. The final day of the summer school will be devoted to presentations. (20% of the final grade)
  • After the summer school, participants submit a research paper of 3000 words, based on the preliminary and additional readings (indication: 1000 pages in total), as well as a limited set of primary sources. (60% of the final grade)

Participation and registration

The maximum number of participants is 25. The summer school of the Research School for Political History is required for Research Master students who have registered for the RMA-program of the RSHP; when registering, they have priority access. By fulfilling all requirements, they receive 5 ects.

Participation is also open to other Research Master students and PhDs. Participation is free for RMA students and PhD students affiliated to the RSPH. PhDs who are not affiliated to the RSPH have to pay a fee of €100. Participants receive a certificate testifying they have earned 1 ects if they submit a preliminary position paper; 1 ects if they present a research outline, and 3 ects if they submit a research paper.

  • Supervisor: prof. dr. Ido de Haan
  • Date: 5-9 July 2021
  • Location: Huygens/ING, Spinhuis, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, Amsterdam
  • Registration: before 1 February 2021,