CPERN 2020 Mid-Term Workshop

What’s Next? Critical Political Economy at the End of Neoliberalism?

 CPERN mid-term workshop – Call for Papers

Friday 19 – Saturday 20 June 2020

University of Limerick, Ireland

For some, the rise of a populist-nativist political turn represents the end of neoliberalism. Certainly, the period of neoliberal growth has come to an end. This raises the question: what’s next, and what will the (next) crisis of neoliberalism look like? This depends as much on current developments as it does on what has happened in the past. These crisis tendencies are many. Whilst economic growth in many Western countries has come to a standstill, climate disasters have intensified in large parts of the globe, geopolitical tensions have peaked, and millions of lives have been disrupted by everyday crises of social reproduction and racialised violence. These are not isolated events; they are interconnected and mutually reinforcing.

It is, therefore, a matter of urgency for Critical Political Economy to theorize and chart the current conjuncture of global capitalism as the neoliberal period appears to be coming to an end, to explain where we are headed and to point towards social, economic and ecological alternatives. In short, we need to understand what crises we are in, what crises are still ahead of us, and what we can do to resolve and pre-empt them. We need a critical political economy for the end of neoliberalism.

Conventional economics is unable to answer these questions. It has tried, and failed, to grasp the extent of capitalism and its crises, due largely to its inability (and often unwillingness) to consider or conceptualise capitalist relations in their fullest sense. Yet, capitalism cannot be understood without grasping the fundamental dynamics which constitute it: economic accumulation, social reproduction, environmental extraction, and forced dispossession based on gender, race and nationality (amongst other categories). The often compartmentalised ontologies, methodologies and resulting epistemologies of mainstream social sciences prevent scholars from capturing this complexity. We are left without an understanding of the causes, dynamics and implications of the multiple contemporary crises of capitalism.

We invite scholars and activists from across the field of critical political economy to contribute to the next CPERN mid-term workshop, where we will consider: What’s Next? Critical Political Economy at the End of Neoliberalism?

We are especially keen for papers that address the following themes:

  • The crisis of neoliberalism: Are we seeing a crisis of (authoritarian) neoliberalism? What is driving this crisis? How should we conceptualise these crisis tendencies? What changes do they prompt? To what extent is this leading to a further erosion of democracy and a consolidation of authoritarianism? To what extent, and with what effect, are we witnessing the end of neoliberalism, and what is the post-neoliberal trajectory?
  • Economic policy at the end of neoliberalism. ‘Normal’ economic policy seems to have ended. Ultra-loose monetary policy seemingly has no end in sight. Public debt is both problematised and accepted as necessary. New innovations in industrial policy, a Green New Deal, and suggestions of a return to redistribution, all appear to be on the agenda. All of this raises the question of what economic policy looks like at the end of neoliberalism.
  • Environmental crisis: How does capitalism affect our planet? What are the implications of the destruction of our eco-systems? What do alternatives to unsustainable growth look like? Can environmental crises transcend capitalism?
  • The role (and crisis) of social reproduction: How do we understand social reproduction in our current end times of neoliberalism? Critical political economy has often neglected the sphere of social reproduction, but lately has begun to pay great attention. Why? And how successful have we been?
  • Exclusions/otherings: What are the gendered and racialized dimensions of contemporary global capitalism? How have neoliberal pressures towards individual competition and self-optimization altered people’s mental well-being? What impact does austerity have on the availability of care?
  • Resistance and Alternatives: How, if at all, are both resistance and everyday struggles for survival putting neoliberalism at risk? How, if at all, can social struggle, resistance, and/or social movements play a part in shaping the post-neoliberal future?

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 and activists 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 31 January 2020.

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

David Bailey, Bernd Bonfert, Alona Lyasheva, Owen Worth, Yuliya Yurchenko

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

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