Studying capitalist dystopias, and avenues for change

We live in dystopian times. The crisis of global capitalism is revealing itself in the most uncompromising fashion. Quantitative easing – the one ‘solution’ to the last crisis – has only re-inflated the global financial bubble, and created the prospect for the next impending crisis to be greater than witnessed heretofore. Government bonds across the industrialized world are either approaching, or already at, negative interest rates. Financial investors, aware of the next big recession, are betting against long term economic growth, for up to the next thirty years. Something is clearly amiss!

SEE THE FULL WRITE-UP OF OUR STREAM OF PANELS, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN MANCHESTER 2019, ON THE OPEN DEMOCRACY WEBSITE HERE

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Critical European Studies Workshop 2019

The next Critical European Studies Workshop, organised by the Critical Political Economy Research Network, will take place on 10-11 May 2019 in Lviv, Ukraine.

Details below, and on the Critical European Studies Workshop website:

CES Workshop 2019
Lviv, Ukraine
10-11 May 2019

Organising team: Christakis Georgiou, Daniel Keil, Aliona Lyasheva, Ana Podvršič, Yuliya Yurchenko

Synopsis: The frontiers and the state of the European – quo vadis?

Fifteen years since EU’s biggest enlargement being celebrated as a movement towards unification of European countries under the same vision for the future we see the region falling to the right wing rhetoric amidst the talks of disintegration. Increasing economic unevenness, Brexit, revision of the free movement of labour while deeper economic integration inside the EU and of the Union with its “outside” e.g. the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, complex role in the refugee crisis, are seemingly contradictory; in many cases contrary to the founding principles and declared mission. Escalating geopolitical confrontations along Europe’s geographic boundary pose questions about the state of the region, its future and its self-appointed – yet often reluctant to take responsibility – hegemon, the EU. The armed conflict and economic crises in Ukraine, Transnistria, Abkhasia – unresolved; the climate change action despite the new elaborate frameworks – toothless; labour mobility is riddled with problems; human rights framework – impotent when applied to non-EU citizens; ‘wealth through growth’ is accumulated by translational capital while subsidized by the taxpayer, unwaged labour and increasingly low waged labour, backed by sweatshops, refugee labour camps and like conditions of migrant labour in global supply chains; responsibility for the unresolved economic recession – shouldered by the region’s most vulnerable. In this workshop we will discuss a number of those burning questions focusing on understanding the causes of the existing problems, assessing their frontiers and the frontier of struggles, the ongoing and the ones to come.

The workshop is open to all scholars and activists interested in critical perspectives on European issues, and is held free of charge.

Programme:

May 10

12:00-13:00 Round of Introductions

13:00-15:00 Session 1:  What is Europe beyond EU-N? Europe and beyond, geopolitics and epistemology

Core text: Stathis Kouvelakis: Borderland. New Left Review 110, March-April 2018.

Commentators: Angela Wigger, Niko Huke, Joachim Becker, Nataliya Rumyantseva, Ivo Georgiev (RLS), Aliona Liasheva

15:00-15:30 Refreshments break

15:30-17:30  Session 2: Fascicisation and crisis of ‘cosmopolitanism’

Core text:  Joachim Becker and Koen Smet, The Socio-Economic Programmes and Praxis of the Nationalist Right in the EU: the Core-Periphery Divide, Paper for the 24th Annual Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe “10 Years into the crisis –What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe?”, Helsinki , 27-29 September 2018

Commentators: Volodymyr Ishchenko, Vika Mulyavka, Owen Worth, Ruth Cain, Yuliya Yurchenko, Daniel Keil

17:30-18:00 Refreshments break

18:00-19:30 Roundtable: left politics and activism in Ukraine

Speakers: Social Movement reps, women, human rights  and LBTQI activists, Ukrainian Christian Youth, trade union activists in Ukraine, Ecological Platform (local Lviv left/anarchist group)

20:00 Dinner 

May 11

10:00-12.00 Session 3: The crisis of work: we work more, we earn less, we pray for robots?

Core text: Moore, P. V. (2018). Tracking Affective Labour for Agility in the Quantified Workplace. Body & Society24(3), 39–67.

Commentators: Gunjan Sondhi, Oksana Dutchak, David Bailey, Nina Potarskaya, Artem Tidva, Christakis Georgiou

12.00-12.15 Break

12.15-14.15 Session 4: European division of labour and growth regimes

Core text: Angela Wigger (2019) The new EU industrial policy: authoritarian neoliberal structural adjustment and the case for alternatives, Globalizations, 16:3, 353-369

Commentators: Johannes Jaeger, Claude Serfati, Phoebe Moore, Denis Pilash, Julia Eder, Artem Tidva

14.15-15.30 Break

15.30-17.30 Session 5: Towards the ecological catastrophe or an opportunity to change the course? Rebalancing labour, state, and capital in climate politics

Core text: Joel Wainwright & Geoff Mann (2015), Climate Leviathan, Antipode, 45 (1), 1-22.

Commentators: Judith Dellheim, Richard Lane, Christina Plank, a representative from the EcoPlatform (Lviv)

17.30-18.00 Closing

(Digital) capitalism, trade wars and bubble economies: Reclaiming critical political economy in dystopian times

Call for Papers – deadline extended to 15 Feb 2019

The next Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN) event will be the CPERN (RN06) stream at the European Sociological Association Conference 2019.

 

(Digital) capitalism, trade wars and bubble economies: Reclaiming critical political economy in dystopian times (RN06)

14th European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference, 20-23 August 2019, Manchester, UK.

Current times appear dystopian. The rise of the populist right and neo-fascist movements and parties seems to overshadow the prospect for progressive alternatives. The aftermath of the global economic crisis has brought with it prolonged neoliberal restructuring, authoritarianism and heightened inequality. Trade wars, nationalism and closed borders seem to generate more hope than visions of global solidarity. Natural resources continue to be exhausted and climate change proceeds unabated. Quantitative easing – the one ‘solution’ to the last crisis – has only re-inflated the global financial bubble, and created the prospect for the next impending crisis to be greater than witnessed heretofore. All this at a time when digital technologies should be offering a major advance in human capacity; but instead seem only to result in fear of a world without employment.

These dystopian times therefore demand a critical political economy that at once diagnoses the crises that we face, delineates the social structures which have produced them, but also points towards alternatives that are grounded in a utopian vision for making a better world possible.

We invite scholars and activists from the broad spectrum of critical political economy, including scholars with Marxist, feminist, ecologist, postcolonial, labour- and social-movement perspectives, as well as scholars with critical approaches to finance, trade and investment; to reclaim the field of critical political economy, and to advance a form of knowledge that can contribute towards the politicisation and acceleration of social struggles, and transformative praxis.

We especially (but not exclusively) invite abstracts on the following topics:

  • Finance, debt, bubbles, and critical theories of money
  • Theorising critical political economy: Beyond mainstream, heterodox and/or post-Keynesian economics?
  • Rising trade protectionism: A welcome reversal of globalisation?
  • Capitalist production and value chains in the digital age
  • Authoritarian neoliberalism, coercion and the disciplining of labour
  • The role of trade unions, social movements and new left political parties/platforms
  • Anarchism, feminism, new materialism and Marxism – building alternatives from horizontalist escape-routes?
  • The materialities of ecological challenges: The political economy of migration
  • Damaged lives, intensified precarisation and the rise of inequalities
  • The question of social reproduction: commodification, cooperation, or mutual aid?

We are interested in all of the above plus more, and wish for the conference to cover a wide range of topics. As such, we seek contributions from scholars and activists with an interest in political economy research, regardless of their disciplinary affiliation and whether they are in academia or not. We also hope to attract a diverse range of participants, from a variety of countries and backgrounds.

Notes for contributors

Deadline for submissions: extended to 15 February 2019

Abstracts should not exceed 275 words. Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in March 2019.

Abstract submission deadline: extended to 15 February 2019. Conference website and abstract submission platform:  https://www.europeansociology.org/abstract-submission-now-open

Make sure you submit to the correct stream: RN06.

If you have any questions regarding this Call, or the conference in general, feel free to contact a.wigger@fm.ru.nl or d.j.bailey@bham.ac.uk.

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CPERN 2018 Midterm Workshop

Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN) 2018 Midterm Workshop

CALL FOR PAPERS – CLOSED

“Gender, Race, Class and Ecology in and through Critical Political Economy”

1-2 June 2018, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

hosted by the IHC – Instituto de História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

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Capitalism cannot be explained by class alone. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, alongside the reinvigoration of far right groups, the global women’s strike in Spring, the vast number of public and political figures guilty of sexual harassment, and environmental disasters such as devastating wildfires, floods and hurricanes, we need a critical political economy that can take account of these interconnected problems and pressures. The upcoming CPERN midterm workshop seeks to reaffirm the importance of class in relation to gender, race, ecology and migration. We are interested in how gender, race, class and questions of ecology intersect, and resulting overlapping oppressions, material inequalities, power relations and social struggles. This includes postcolonial and Marxist feminist approaches to political economy and the personal and ‘embodied’ aspects of political processes. Overall, we welcome contributions on a range of topics that explicitly link gender, sex, race and/or class to key themes and pressing issues in political economy, including (but certainly not limited to) the following:

  • Feminist political economy, labour, social reproduction and race: In recent years we saw impressive interventions by Marxist feminists such as Silvia Federici, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Susan Ferguson. We invite contributions on the future of work; invisible, informal and unwaged (domestic) labour; labour, health and safety in logistics and retail industries; the role of migration and race; digitalisation and Gig Economy, precarity; and social reproduction in relation to austerity, neoliberalism or finance-led accumulation.
  • Disruptive politics: There is an ongoing debate over the relationship between social movements/labour studies and critical political economy. We invite contributions that target the role of the state and trade unions in social partnerships and social movement unionism, and that explore (possibilities for) new solidarities and dual power structures.
  • Sex, sexuality and political economy: Sexuality, sex work, sexual violence, male and female pleasure, menstruation, fertility and resulting social power relations often remain understudied in critical political economy. We invite contributions that address these issues and more.
  • The political economy of ecological conflicts: We invite contributions that link ecological struggles, environmental degradation, climate change, natural disasters, the limits of fossil fuel to mass migration, inequalities and the future of capitalism.
  • Finance, debt and the state: Ten years after the financial bubble burst, the financial sector is back with double-digit windfall profits, while global debt-levels are now far above that of 2008. We welcome contributions that address (regulatory) developments in the financial sphere, including debt creation, the growth and/or impact of debt, and resistance to debt.
  • Power relations in academia: We invite contributions that address the various ways in which academia, higher education and teaching spaces each contribute to the reproduction of inequalities based on gender, race, class and other hierarchies; and ways in which these can be resisted.

We are interested in all of the above and more, and wish for the workshop to cover a wide range of topics. We welcome scholars with an interest in critical political economy, from a variety of countries, social backgrounds, and disciplinary affiliations, regardless of whether they are in academia or not. We are particularly committed to promoting the participation of PhD students, early career scholars, and activists. Limited funds will be available for scholars and activists in precarious situations (who cannot get other sources of funding) to support travel and accommodation costs. Please inform us if you may require help with funding when you send us your abstract.

There is no fee for attending the workshop. The conference language will be English.

Abstracts of around 250 words should be submitted to cpern@criticalpoliticaleconomy.net by 1 February 2018.

We hope that you will find this Call interesting – please also share with colleagues and students who might not yet be part of the CPERN community!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this Call, or the conference in general.

Many thanks,

The CPERN Board

Caroline Metz, Anne Engelhardt, Phoebe Moore, David Bailey and Angela Wigger

 

The Critical Political Economy Research Network is Research Network 06 of the European Sociological Association.

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Fourth Critical European Studies Workshop, Goethe-University Frankfurt, 23-24 June 2017

This is the fourth edition of a successful series of workshops put together by European scholars, students and activists with the support of CPERN, the Arbeitskreis kritische Europaforschung (AkE/AkG) and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

This year the CES workshop continues to challenge inconsistencies and blind spots that permeate European Studies and push the boundaries of the critical in the analyses of the area’s problematic. The themes discussed will include the political crisis of the EU and authoritarian modes of politics, the uprise of the new right, questions of climate, and problems of resistance and strategy in production and reproduction as well as in politics and on the streets.

The workshop provides a forum for scholars and activists to meet and discuss critical theoretical and empirical perspectives on the configuration of European capitalism, the EU and political resistance. Previous editions were held at the University of Greenwich in London 2017,at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (2015), and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2014).

In order to foster a constructive debate the workshop will avoid the ‘usual’ conference structure with individual paper presentations and foregrounds collective discussions instead. We will proceed on the basis of thematic block sessions, with each tabling a core text that all participants will have read beforehand. Each of the sessions in the workshop starts with a brief introduction, and 6 participants (to be announced) discussing and enhancing the perspectives developed in that session’s core text from the angle of their own research/activism. This is followed by a mumble where all participants share their ideas in small groups, after which the floor is opened for a plenary discussion.

Confirmed Discussants include Sonja Buckel, Daniela Caterina, Ian Bruff, Daniel Mullis, Carina Book, Manuela Boatca, Sigfrido Ramirez, Tamas Gerocs, Stefanie Hürtgen, Daniela Tepe-Belfrage, Andreas Bieler, Nikolai Huke, Thomas Sablowski, Yuliya Yurchenko, Agnes Gagyi, Daniel Keil, Tibor Meszmann, Theodorus Rakopoulos and more to be announced soon.

The workshop is open to all scholars and activists interested in critical perspectives on European issues. It is free of charge but registration is required. See the full programme below.

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CPERN Call for Papers – IIPPE/CPERN/IPE Conference

IIPPE/CPERN/IPE Conference
September 13-15, 2017
Berlin School of Economics and and Law
 
In the context of the IIPPE/CPERN/IPE conference, the ESA Critical Political Economy Research Network CPERN invites paper and panel suggestions on the suggested streams below, but also welcomes suggestions that fit with the conference themes more broadly, which are ‘inequality’ and ‘instability’.
 
To contribute to the conference’s overall themes, CPERN calls for papers and panels that seek to destabilise perceptions in political economy that breed closed talking shops and echo chambers. We aim to talk about how the urgencies of rampant inequality and instability bring us to query how and why they have become so widespread in the global  capitalist economy; to critically discuss how social and structural imbalances are fueled by extremely unbalanced power relations; and, importantly, to consider how we can tackle these issues, whether by challenging  stagnant ideas in political economy and theories, or disputing the conditions under which instability and inequality have been emerging.
 
The following reflect desired CPERN contributions based on suggestions from CPERN members and the Executive Board: Monica Clua Losada, Angela Wigger, Phoebe Moore and Caroline Metz. However, feel free to submit papers/panel proposals that may not precisely fit with the below, but fit with the conference themes instability and inequality.
 
 
Paper/panel suggestions submitted herehttp://iippe.org/wp/?page_id=2928
Make sure to select ‘CPERN’ in the category of Working Groups when you submit!
 
The extended deadline is April 8 2017 23:59 CET. Please email Phoebe Moore for questions: p.moore at mdx.ac.uk
 
Themes (in alphabetical order)
 
Confronting (inherently unstable) capitalism  
This stream will critically analyse (global) anti-capitalist, anarchist, feminist, cooperative and other movements that both destabilise capitalist tendencies and represent moments that disrupt relations of domination and exploitation, but also remain unsure about how to develop into more substantial anti-capitalist movements. Panels seek contributions about how social movements have met transformations in capitalism, or new left convergences are being coopted by political parties, e.g. in Brazil, Rojava, Chile, the Czech Republic, Spain, landless workers movement, and the radical left in Africa and more.
 
Debt and financialised capitalism
This stream speaks to the interrelated workings of ‘states’ and ‘markets’ in the reproduction of (financialised) capitalism. To what extent are public and private actors cooperating in the creation, expansion and reshaping of markets? How are state-market interactions evolving in an economy reliant on and fuelled by household and student debt? How does financialised capitalism impact inequality in terms of gender, class and race? What are the current or potential forms of resistance to markets and the commodification of debt, and to financialised capitalism overall?
 
Destabilising labour processes: The machinery question
The machine question is back with a vengeance with the threat of automation, the algorithmic boss, gig economies and platform work. This stream looks at problems that the contemporary machine question poses for organising workers and resistance. To do so, we will look at extreme quantified workplaces with self-tracking and monitoring of all-of-life and affective digitalised labour, changing concepts of urban guerrillas and hacking, digital intermediation platforms and the human price of everyday rhetorics in the digital economy.
 
Regional destabilisation and uneven capitalist development
Regions have risen and fallen. This stream will look at areas of destabilisation of regional groupings and integration practices, from the much-heralded alternatives seen in the Pink Tide (and its fall), to questions of continuation and challenges to neoliberalism through regional disintegration. How has regional change impacted age-old inequalities of gender, class, race? Discussions may include the urgency of reviewing regional significance brought to the fore with Brexit, critical perspectives on the interface of EU investment politics with trade/trade agreements and on recarving  (virtual) accumulation spaces as mechanisms of capitalism’s transformativity.
 
Confirmed speakers and contributors: David Bailey, Adam Fishwick, Michael Goddard, Baruch Gottleib, Ted Huang, Athina Karatzogianni, Zoe Malone, Caroline Metz, Johnna Montgomerie, Phoebe Moore, Anitra Nelson, Alex Nunn, Sophie Price, Alex Prichard, Dani Tepe-Belfrage, Leo Uestebay, Wanda Vrasti, Angela Wigger, Owen Worth, Yuliya Yurchenko
 

CPERN (RN06) CfP at the 13th ESA conference

Call for Papers – Resisting Capitalism in, under and beyond Authoritarian Neoliberalism – Radical Praxis, Real democracy and (Prefigurative) Alternatives in the 21st Century’
LINE
The Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN/ RN06) is inviting paper and panel submissions for its sessions at the 13th European Sociological Association (ESA) Conference in Athens, 29 August to 1 September 2017.

Capitalism has been resilient to various crises and contradictions, including the current global crisis. At the same time, ever more cracks are opening up, pointing to avenues of resistance and alternatives to capitalism. We interrogate the mechanisms and processes that facilitate the reproduction of the continued accumulation of capital: reproductive labour, inequalities of class, gender, race and ethnicity, capitalist competition and technological innovations, the ubiquitous role of debt, the disciplinary role of the judicial and administrative state apparatus and in particular, coercive state practices that suppress and marginalise anti-capitalist oppositional forces.
LINE
We are keen to receive paper proposals which focus on the analysis and critique of features of capitalism and anti-capitalist resistance. Some of the topics we would like to invite abstracts in are:
LINE
  • Capitalist spheres of production, trade and finance
  • Authoritarian neoliberalism, coercion and the disciplining of labour
  • The role of trade unions, social movements and new Left political parties/platforms
  • Anarchism, feminism, new materialism and Marxism – Building alternatives from horizontal escapes
  • The materialities of ecological challenges– The political economy of migration and human trafficking
  • Damaged lives, intensified precarisation and the rise of inequalities
  • Reclaiming the Caliban and the Witch: social reproduction as a source of value-creation

We are interested in all of the above plus more, and wish for the conference to cover a wide range of topics. As such, we seek contributions from scholars and activists with an interest in political economy research, regardless of their disciplinary affiliation and whether they are in academia or not. We also hope to attract a diverse range of participants, from a variety of countries and backgrounds.

Notes for authors
Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in April 2017.
Line
New Abstract submission deadline : 15 February 2017.
Conference website and abstract submission platform: http://www.europeansociology.org/conferences/13th-conference-2017/
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If you have further questions regarding this call, the conference or the Critical Political Economy Research Network, feel free to contact monica.clualosada@utrgv.edu or a.wigger@fm.ru.nl.
LINE
Do not hesitate to share the call with colleagues and students who might not be part of the CPERN community yet!