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Unit information: Greed is Good: Contemporary Enterprise Culture in Britain and America (Level H Lecture Response Unit) in 2018/19

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Unit name Greed is Good: Contemporary Enterprise Culture in Britain and America (Level H Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST30083
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Edwards
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Stuart Hall described contemporary society as having witnessed the 'long march of the Neoliberal Revolution'. For historians, sociologists, political scientists and economists alike, tracing the rise of neoliberalism as an economic ideology and as a series of policies has been of the utmost importance. But what of the social and cultural manifestations of neoliberalism? This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the emergence and development of a widespread 'enterprise culture' in Britain and America in the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It asks how the meaning of enterprise has changed; how prevalent it has become in contemporary culture; and how it has affected society and the individual. In doing so, students will explore what it means to be an entrepreneur, not just at work but in our relationships, our private lives and our understanding of ourselves. Are we all neoliberal entrepreneurs now?

The political, cultural, and social, facets of contemporary enterprise culture will be investigated through various sources, including political rhetoric, the press, television, film, literature, fashion, education and social media. Students will explore enterprise culture in its diverse manifestations, and consider how widespread the logic of free market competition has become in the world around us.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. summarize and explain the rise of neoliberalism and its relationship enterprise culture in contemporary society
  2. analyse and generalise how the study of enterprise culture fits into broader histories of contemporary social, cultural and political change
  3. select relevant examples/evidence in order to illustrate more general arguments about the nature of enterprise culture in contemporary society.
  4. identify, explain, and assess a range theoretical approaches to neoliberalism and enterprise culture, in order to develop an independent viewpoint, as appropriate to level H.

Teaching details

1 X 2-hour interactive lecture per week

Assessment Details

One 3000-word essay (50%) and one 2-hour examination (50%). [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

U. Bruckling, The Entrepreneurial Self: Fabricating a New Type of Subject (London, 2016).

Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (New York, 2015).

T. Frank, One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy (New York, 2000).

Ilana Gershon, Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today (Chicago, 2017).

R. Keat and N. Abercrombie (eds), Enterprise Culture (London, 1991).
Interchange, 'The Way of Neoliberalism' Podcast Series,