Crisis, Resistance and Rights: Critical Political Economy Perspectives
12-13 September 2014, University of Vienna
The current crisis reveals one of capitalism’s key contradictions: the relationship between rights, the state and society. Giving primacy to austerity politics, governments appear unable to guarantee basic rights vis-à-vis market forces. These developments constitute fundamental challenges to social reproduction. Governments have for example been pro-active in protecting banks’ rights in foreclosures and housing evictions at the expense of people’s right to housing, or imposed labour reforms marking a retreat of labour rights and rights to decent work. Similar trends can be observed with respect to welfare rights, the right to education, the right to water or democratic rights that go beyond ballot boxes, such as the right to protest and claim public spaces. Of particular importance here is also the political ecology dimension, with a focus on the financialisation of nature, enclosure of commons, and the green economy as a new hegemonic project. Resistance movements and civil society organisations/groups increasingly challenge private property rights and demand collective socio-economic and human rights. Academic discussions of rights have long been a prerequisite of liberal political philosophy and received little attention from critical scholars. What can scholars in law, political economy, political science and sociology contribute to a critical understanding of rights? How does an emancipatory conception of rights look like? What are common rights, and/or rights to commons? How could such conceptions add to a critical understanding of crisis and resistance?
This two-day conference, hosted by the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science, seeks to explore interlinkages between crisis, resistance and rights in an open, genial and reflexive manner. 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 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. To this end, limited funds will be available for assisting PhD and early career scholars, especially those from Central and Eastern Europe, with their travel and accommodation costs.
There is no fee for attending and participating in the workshop. The workshop language will be English.
Abstracts of around 250 words should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 1 March 2014. The applicants will be informed of the selection committee’s decision by 1 April 2014.
The Critical Political Economy Research Network (CPERN) promotes and facilitates research aimed at understanding recent transformations of capitalism and capitalist societies. The primary focus is on Europe, but CPERN is in no way restricted to just this part of the world. CPERN’s purpose is to reassert the centrality of political economy perspectives and to promote critical and emancipatory scholarship. It is a hub for interdisciplinary exchange, straddling principally the disciplines of sociology, politics and economics, but also reaching out to geography, social policy and law.