Sociology 430: Sociology of Globalization Fall 2020
Instructor: Roberto J. Ortiz, PhD
Guidelines for Critical Interpretation Essay # 1
(due Monday, September 21 at 11:59 pm)
Essay Subject: The Rise and Consequences of Neoliberalism
I. The Essay
During week 4 we examined and discussed the critical evaluations made by David Harvey and Naomi
Klein of the rise of neoliberal globalization. We also looked at a core text of the neoliberal project—a
fragment from Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. Thus, we have looked at the tensions
between the ideological argument and the actual history of the globalization of neoliberal policies
during the past three to four decades. All in all, we have a general perspective on the origins and
consequences of one important aspect of the globalization era: the spread of neoliberal economic and
social policies across the world. Taking this discussion as background you will do the following:
1. In the essay, you will consider three authors and discuss both differences and similarities in their
arguments. In class we examined all three (Harvey, Klein and Friedman). You should address at least
three of the following questions:
● What are some points of similarity between Klein’s and Harvey’s arguments?
● What, on the other hand, are the aspects of their arguments that lead them into a view that is
diametrically opposed to that of Milton Friedman?
● How the notion of “freedom” is used in their arguments, i.e., how Friedman’s “freedom” is
challenged by Harvey and Klein?
● In what ways does Harvey’s argument regarding neoliberalism as “the restoration of class
power” might be complementary with Klein’s notion of “shock doctrine”?
● Why are Harvey and Klein critical of Friedman’s description of capitalism as the system most
compatible with political freedom?
● What is the general connection between globalization and neoliberalism?
2. Following the discussion of the authors’ contributions, you should briefly explain why Chile is such a
central case in the debate regarding neoliberalism—for this you should use the additional short texts
added in the list below. Here you can emphasize one author only if you consider their contribution
superior, or you can draw generally on all three. On the other hand, you can be critical of their
arguments and posit instead that these frameworks/theories are not useful to explain neoliberalism or
Chile’s experience. Moreover, you can also argue that Chile is an outlier and its significance is
exaggerated by Klein. Of course, if you argue any of these contrarian points, you need to provide
relevant empirical evidence to back up your argument.
Lastly, make sure that you follow the evaluation criteria I provide below. It will help you
write the essay successfully.
II. Texts/Material you will use:
David Harvey, “Freedom’s Just Another Word,” in A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 5–38.
Milton Friedman, “The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom,” in Capitalism
and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), pp. 7–21.
The Shock Doctrine, directed by Mat Whitecross and Michael Winterbottom (Sundance Selects, 2009).
Pascale Bonnefoy, “Documenting U.S. Role in Democracyʼs Fall and Dictatorʼs Rise in Chile,” New
York Times (October 14, 2017).
“Sweden’s Ex Envoy to Chile Says 15,000 Died There,” New York Times (December 11, 1973): 7.
Peter Winn, “Chile was the Watergate of United States foreign policy,” New York Times (May 9, 1976),
7, 18, 20, 22, 24.
Martin Bernetti, “‘Where are they?’ Families search for Chile’s disappeared prisoners,” The Guardian
(August 14, 2019).
Recommended:
Andre Gunder Frank, “Economic Genocide in Chile: Open Letter to Milton Friedman and Arnold
Harberger” Economic and Political Weekly 11, no. 24 (1976): pp. 880–888.
Tom Wicker, “‘Disappeared’ in Chile,” New York Times (March 20, 1977), 171.
III. Evaluation Criteria (Rubric)
Criteria 1. Student Understands Sociological Concepts
Explanatory note to Student: When a social scientist uses a term, for example, “capitalism,”
“neoliberalism” “freedom,” “shock therapy,” “class,” etc. it may not necessarily correspond to
everyday life definitions (i.e., “common sense” definitions) of those terms.
Excellent, 3 points: Student demonstrates an adequate understanding of the theory or theories used
in the essay. When referring to notions such as capitalism or neoliberalism or freedom in relation to a
particular problem, the student explains adequately what the social scientist or writer means when
they talk about those concepts. Moreover, she/he relates the concepts to appropriate authors. The
student clearly distinguishes between everyday use of terms and their social scientific and/or critical
meanings.
Satisfactory, 2 points: Student demonstrates partial understanding of the theory or theories used
in the essay. When referring to notions such as capitalism or neoliberalism or freedom in relation to a
particular problem, the student explains some concepts but not others, and not always refers them to
the appropriate authors. The student distinguishes, but not clearly, between everyday use of terms and
their social scientific and/or critical meanings.
Unsatisfactory, 0 points: Student does not demonstrate an understanding of the theory or theories
used in the essay. The student fails to explain the concepts. The student does not refer them to the
appropriate authors. The student fails to distinguish between everyday use of terms and their social
scientific meanings.
Criteria 2. Student Evaluates Social Problems and Historical Processes Critically
Excellent, 3 points: Student evaluates social problems and historical process critically. Moreover,
the criticism is developed in a nuanced manner that avoids reducing complex issues to simplicities.
Satisfactory, 2 points: Student evaluates social problems and historical processes critically.
However, he/she fails to develop a nuanced argument.
Unsatisfactory, 0 points: Student fails to develop either a critical or nuanced argument.
Criteria 3. Student Compares and Contrasts Different Social Theories
Explanatory Note to Student: Remember that social scientific notions may have dif erent meanings
in the conceptual systems of dif erent sociologists, historians and other social scientists and, of
course, journalists.
Excellent, 2 points: When referring to more than one author, the student adequately highlights the
key points of similarity and contrast between the arguments of the different authors.
Satisfactory, 1 points: When referring to more than one author, the student adequately highlights
points of similarity and contrast between the arguments of the different authors. However, he/she
misses some key points.
Unsatisfactory, 0 points: When referring to more than one author, the student fails to highlight
points of similarity and contrast between the arguments of the different authors.
Criteria 4. Student Follows Instructions of Assignment
Essay length: between 5 to 7 pages (not including the bibliography or reference list).
Format: Double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt.
Bibliography format: Use an academic referencing style consistently, I recommend the Chicago
Manual of Style (guidelines for citing using the CMS are found freely online).
Excellent, 2 points: Student follows instructions provided for the essay’s length/formatting.
Satisfactory, 1 points: Student partially follows instructions—some of the instructions regarding
length/format above are missing.
Unsatisfactory, 0 points: Student fails to follow instructions provided for the essay’s length and/or
format.


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