Social Movements and the Politics of Debt: Transnational Resistance against Debt on Three Continents

Thursday 15 December

A discussion of Christoph Sorg’s new book – Social Movements and the Politics of Debt: Transnational Resistance against Debt on Three Continents

Christoph Sorg is a researcher based at Ruhr-University Bochum. His research focuses on intersectional theories of capitalism, social movements, globalization, digitalization, finance and debt. In addition to his recent book, he has also recently published on the possibilities of democratic economic planning in the age of digitalization, in Critical Sociology.


Bernd Bonfert is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University and a member of the CPERN board and the editorial board of the journal Global Political Economy. He has recent publications in the Journal of Rural StudiesGlobalizations and Capital and Class.

David Bailey is an Associated Professor in Politics in the University of Birmingham and convenor of CPERN. He has a forthcoming co-authored article in Environmental Politics on the critical political economy of climate activism.

The workshop gave us an excellent opportunity to hear about this newly published research into the intersection between debt, social movements, and critical political economy.

From the book blurb: It would have been hard to miss the pivotal role debt has played for contentious politics in the last decades. The North Atlantic Financial Crisis, Global Recession and European Debt Crisis – as well as the recent waves of protest that followed them – have catapulted debt politics into the limelight of public debates. Profiting from years of fieldwork and an extensive amount of empirical data, Christoph Sorg traces recent contestations of debt from North Africa to Europe and the US. In doing so, he identifies the emergence of new transnational movement networks against the injustice of current debt politics, which struggle for more social and democratic ways of organizing debt within and between societies.

The book is available as an e-book for free, here:


Critical Political Economy of Work and Agency during and after Covid-19

Thursday 29 September 5.00 – 6.00 BST/ 6.00-7.00 CEST

The COVID-19 pandemic has only further magnified the already growing political-economic and societal power of platforms. This article delves into the different realities of platform workers by juxtaposing two cases: location-based Amazon warehouse workers and web-based Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers. Informed by a historical materialist approach that accounts both for the contextual conditions and the agency of workers, this article asks: how does the organisation of workers (location-based vs. web-based) relate differently to their labour organisation and mobilisation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The workshop focused on one of the articles from the Global Political Economy journal launch issue:

Labour realities at Amazon and COVID-19: obstacles and collective possibilities for its warehouse workers and MTurk workers

Article available here:

Speaker and article author: Dr Sarrah Kassem is employed as a research associate and lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Tübingen, Germany after completing her dissertation on workers’ alienation and agency in the platform economy. Her general teaching and research foci are working conditions in the platform economy, labour organisation and intersectional dimensions of the labour movement.


Phoebe V Moore is Professor of the futures of work at University of Essex, School of Business. Link to bio here.

Saori Shibata is Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on Japan’s political economy, including the changing nature of work, the digital economy and how Japan’s model of capitalism is transforming, with recent publications in New Political Economy, Review of International Political Economy, British Journal of Political Science, and Contesting Precarity in Japan: The Rise of Nonregular Workers and the New Policy Dissensus (Cornell University Press).

Critical Political Economy for a new Global Political Economy

 CPERN mid-term workshop

Friday 22– Saturday 23 July 2022

University of Limerick, Ireland

The Global Political Economy is now described, depending on who describes it, as “over-stimulated”, “scarred”, “squeezed”, “unsustainable”, or “jammed up”. Commentators routinely cite the threat of stagflation. The (post-)pandemic recovery is considered “K-shaped”, with assets inflated, to the benefit of asset holders, whilst livelihoods are (further) degraded. Governments have so far failed to put in place a global Green New Deal. The pandemic has exposed the recklessness of decades of austerity, commercialisation, and under-funding of our health and social care systems. While the populist zeitgeist seems to be waning, its successor on the horizon is yet more tepid neoliberal centrism that seeks only to deter those who hope for egalitarian alternatives. Likewise, within academia, efforts continue to sideline, discourage and, if possible, eliminate critical thinking and our ambitions for social change.

We need a new Global Political Economy, and we need critical political economy to provide the intellectual, methodological, analytical and strategic tools through which to conceptualise, explain and critique the multiple crises we face. The aim of our next CPERN mid-term workshop is therefore: a Critical Political Economy for a new Global Political Economy.

The CPERN mid-term workshop is the mid-term workshop of the Critical Political Economy Research Network (RN06) of the European Sociological Association. More details:

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop!


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


All times are Irish Standard Time (UTC+1)

Friday 22 July

The workshop will occur in the GEMS building which is 34 on the map, over the river.

9.45                       Welcome and introductions Room GEMS 0-016

10.00 – 12.00      Covid Capitalism, Crises, and Crisis Responses (chair: David Bailey, Birmingham)

Room GEMS 0-016

Madelaine Moore (Bielefeld)

A spherical fix: capitalist crisis through social reproduction theory

Serap Saritas (Oslo)

Crisis of financialised social reproduction: Case of elderly in the aftermath of pandemic

Owen Worth (Limerick)

Covid Capitalism and World Order: The slow unravelling of market neoliberalism?

Yuliya Yurchenko (Greenwich)

Debt, war, and (macro)economic restructuring: lessons from Ukraine on planning a sustainable economy

12-1                       LUNCH                 

1.00 – 2.30         

Panel 1:                Work, time and labour (chair: Phoebe Moore, Essex)

Room GEMS 0-016

Pedro Teixeira (Humboldt)

The theoretical construction of “workplace democracy” in academic discourses

Benjamin Anderson and John Jenkinson (Simon Fraser)

Building Autonomous Power: Worker Centres and Solidarity Networks in Precarious Times

Joel Lazarus (Bath)

Transcending colonialism through an ontology and political economy of needs: preliminary findings from the WorkFREE project and an embryonic articulation of a new theory of needs

Ilona Steiler (Tampere)

Sustainable time-use under all-the-time capitalism? (Post-)pandemic considerations

Benjamin Ferschli (Oxford)

A Simple Question of More with Less by Fewer? Automation, Concentration and Labour-Productivity in the Automotive and Generalized Manufacturing Sectors of 21 countries between 2011 and 2019

Panel 2:                European Governance, European Crisis (chair: Mònica Clua-Losada, Rio Grande, Texas)

Room GEMS 0-028
Vincenzo Maccarrone and Roland Erne (UCD)

Continuity and change in European Governance of Labour after the Covid-19 pandemic

Laura Horn (Roskilde) and Angela Wigger (Radboud)

European Political Economy – Critical Perspectives

Davide Monaco (Manchester)

Italian capitalism within the Eurozone crisis: narratives, common sense, and neoliberal restructuring

2.30                        BREAK

2.45 – 4.15         

Panel 1:                Economic experiments in the wake of the pandemic (chair: Brian Milstein, Limerick)

Room GEMS 0-016

Mareike Beck (Kings)

Assetising the Assetless: Private Equity and the Rise of Rent-backed Securities

Silke Trommer (Manchester)

Trading in Inequality: How are the UK’s Food and Care Economies affected by the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement?

Nils Peters (Goldsmiths)

The problem of abundance: Venture capital and the formatting of the platform business model

Jörg Nowak (Brasilia) – ONLINE
Is data labour liberated labour? Proposals for radical economic change from the Silicon valley in the light of technological reification

Panel 2:                Progressive Politics in the age of crisis (1): Feminism as a response to the crisis (chair: Marco Guglielmo, Birmingham)

Room GEMS 0-028

Sarah Uhlmann (Humboldt)

Alternative social reproduction as a basis for progressive politics

Ben Whitham (SOAS)

The Revolution of Values and the Crisis of Liberal Democracy

Adam Kingsmith (York, Toronto)

Anxious Solidarities in the age of crisis

Melany Cruz (Leicester)

“A revolt within the revolt”: feminist political ideas in Chile’s social uprising

4.15                        Break

4.30 – 6.00pm   

Panel 1:                Critical Political Economy of Health, Care, and Disability (chair: Yuliya Yurchenko, Greenwich)

Room GEMS 0-016

Ari C. Parra (CUNY, New York)

The Political Economy of Disability and the Nursing Home Industry in the United States

Evan Sedgwick-Jell (Birkbeck)

The Mental Health Imaginary – The Politics of Mind Under Late Neoliberalization

Costanza Galanti and Mary Naughton (UCD)

Using the unions. Healthcare struggles in Italy and Spain between trade unionism and self-organization

Sahil Dutta (Goldsmiths) and Ian Lovering (Kings)

‘Care Capitalism’ and the Financialization of Social Reproduction

Panel 2:                Progressive Politics in the age of crisis (2): Eco-left responses to the crisis (chair: Bernd Bonfert, Cardiff)

Room GEMS 0-028

Phil Roberts (York)

Brazilian Rural Social Movements, ‘Inverse’ Hegemony, and the Decolonization of Left Strategy in the Return to Neodevelopmentalism

Francesco Laruffa (Breman)

Neoliberal capitalism in crisis: paradoxes and dilemmas of progressive politics

Damian McIlroy (Queens)

An eco-situationist theory: the post pandemic détournement of eco-socialism      

Emma Foster and Pete Kerr (Birmingham)

Environmental and LGBQTIA+ Politics in an Age of Crisis: A progressive response to climate change?

7.30pm                 Workshop meal

The Locke Bar, Limerick CIty

Saturday 23 July

8.00 – 9.30am    Online session (2) (chair: David Bailey)

Yadu C R (CDS, Trivandrum)

Agrarian transformation across space and time: a case study of two villages in South India

Fatma Pınar Arslan (Istanbul)

Role of Fiscal Policy During Pandemics: The Case of Turkey

Satyaki Dasgupta (Colorado) and Annesha Mukherjee (JNU, Kerala)

A Marxist Feminist Discussion on Female Labour Force Participation and Intra-household Dynamics in Post-Pandemic India

Jakub Anusik (Lodz)

Comparing views on dependency: ‘new’ political economy vs ‘old’ structuralist approach

10.00-12.00am   (Mis)Managing (Neoliberal) Capitalism (chair: Owen Worth, Limerick)

Room GEMS 0-016

Anton S. Filipenko (Taras Shevchenko, Kyiv)

Capital and Labor: Global Dimensions

Joseph Ward (Birmingham)

Between Johnson and Jupiter: assessing the role of consent and coercion in executive centralisation in post-Brexit Britain and Macron’s France

Paula Schwevers (Birmingham)

Management of labour and money under Thatcher- British political economy during the 1980s

Mònica Clua-Losada (Rio Grande, Texas)

Resisting (Authoritarian) Neoliberalism: Disrupting Spain’s political economy

Gemma Gasseau (Scuola Normale, Florence)

Re-municipalization of urban water services between resistance and re-appropriation: the case of Naples, Italy

12-1                       LUNCH

1.00 – 2.30         

Panel 1:                Feminist decolonization, sustainable use-time and left communications (chair: Emma Dolan, Limerick)

Room GEMS 0-016

Asha Herten-Crabb (LSE)

Towards a feminist decolonizing trade agenda

Ilona Steiler (Tampere)

Sustainable time-use under all-the-time capitalism? (Post-)pandemic considerations

Giorgos Charalambous (Nicosia) – ONLINE

Communicating Crises on the Left: Prognostic and Diagnostic Frames During Four Periods

Panel 2:                Progressive Politics in the age of crisis (3): Can the left organise? (chair: Melany Cruz, Leicester)

Room GEMS 0-028

Chris Bick (LSE)

How did Labour Get the Blame?: Parties, Ideas and Crisis in the United Kingdom

Gianmarco Fifi (LSE)

From Crisis to Crisis: The Western Left during the Eurozone crisis and the Covid Pandemic

Bradley Ward and Marco Guglielmo (Birmingham)

Combining horizontal and vertical politics: Introducing the progressive network-system

David Bailey (Birmingham)

Perennial debates of the left: same difference?

2.30                        BREAK

2.45 – 4.15         

Panel 1:                Critical Political Economy of Industrial Policy (chair: Ian Bruff, Manchester)

Room GEMS 0-016

Thanos Liapas (Viadrina)

The political economy of the shift of the Federation of German Industries’ industrial policy agenda

Julia Eder (Johannes Kepler, Linz)

Making the European automotive industry fit for the future: opportunities and challenges from a labour perspective

Panel 2:                Critical Political Economy of Development (chair: Laura Horn, Roskilde)

Room GEMS 0-028

Julia Loginovic (Manchester)

The Future of Post-Pandemic Development: Beyond Neoliberal Individualism?

Oleksandr Svitych (Jindal Global University) – ONLINE

Development for whom? The case of USAID in the Ukrainian Donbas

Dario Clemente (Buenos Aires) – ONLINE

Beyond the “Neodevelopmentalist Left”: The Need for a New Hegemonic Interpellation. Insights From Argentina and Brazil.

Salimah Valiani  – ONLINE

Toward a general theory of capitalist formations in the trajectory of world historical capitalism

4.15                        BREAK

4.30 – 6.00         

Panel 1:                 Critical Political Economy of the Climate Crisis (chair: Yuliya Yurchenko, Greenwich)

Room GEMS 0-028

Johannes Jäger (Vienna) – ONLINE

A critical political economy perspective on the emergence of sustainable finance: insights for progressive strategies

Calum McGeown (Queens)

A New Era of Interventionism? Capitalism, Covid-19 and the limits of ‘climate neo-statism’

Thomas Da Costa Vieira (SOAS)

The Political Economy of the Green Transition: Climate Change, Accumulation and the State in Britain

Oscar Berglund (Bristol) and David Bailey (Birmingham)

System Change, not Climate Change: Whose system, what change?

Panel 2:                Alternatives to/in Capitalism (chair: Patrick Doyle, Limerick)

Room GEMS 0-016

Olga Vincent (Erasmus University, Rotterdam)

Crafting alternatives to capitalist labor

Bernd Bonfert (Cardiff)

’None of this would have worked if it was just one of us.’ Collaboration across regional community-supported agriculture networks

Neil Warner (LSE)

Roads to No Alternative: The Rejection of Proposals for the Socialisation of Investment in France, Britain and Sweden, 1970-1991

Lara Montesinos Coleman (Sussex)

Counter-Legality in Social Movement Strategy: Law in Political Economy and Immanent Critique

6.00                        Launch panel for the new journal: Global Political Economy


led by the Editors in Chief: Phoebe V Moore and Mònica Clua-Losada

followed by wine reception, hosted by Bristol University Press


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

Neither Vertical Nor Horizontal? Critical political economy and Political Organisation

Thursday 26 May 

5pm (BST)/6pm (CEST)

Register here: 

speakers:Rodrigo Nunes (Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)

David J. Bailey (University of Birmingham)

Melany Cruz (University of Leicester)

Rodrigo Nunes will present some of the key themes of his recently published book,Neither Vertical Nor Horizontal: A Theory of Political Organisation (Verso, 2021), which represents a major intervention in the ongoing question of political organisation facing the left. 

This will be followed by reflections from David Bailey and Melany Cruz. 

Followed by an open discussion chaired by Phoebe Moore.

We are very pleased to have such excellent speakers join us.

Rodrigo Nunes is professor of modern and contemporary philosophy at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Brazil. He is the author of Organisation of the Organisationless. Collective Action After Networks (Mute, 2014) and Neither Vertical Nor Horizontal: A Theory of Political Organisation (Verso, 2021). His writing has appeared in publications such as Les Temps Modernes, Radical Philosophy, South Atlantic Quarterly, International Journal of Communication, Public Books, Viewpoint, as well as in media outlets like The Guardian and Jacobin. As an organiser and popular educator, he has been involved in several initiatives in Brazil and in Europe, such as the first editions of the World Social Forum and the Justice for Cleaners campaign.

David Bailey is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Studies, and currently coordinator of the Critical Political Economy Research Network. He is a co-author of Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe, published in the Routledge/RIPE Series in Global Political Economy, and has recently published peer-reviewed articles in Capital and Class, Globalizations, and the British Journal of Political Science.

Melany Cruz is a Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester. Her research focuses on theories of violence and nonviolence, with a particular interest in resistance movements, feminism, and progressive politics in Latin America. She has published a series of articles on Chile’s social uprising and the newly elected progressive government in Tribune Magazine.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Ukraine and the changing nature of war: critical political economy, geopolitics, nationhood

Thursday 28 April, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST, 7pm EEST


Aliona Liasheva (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv)

Marko Bojcun, Ukrainian socialist and author of The Workers’ Movement and the National Question in Ukraine 1897-1918.

Yuliya Yurchenko (University of Greenwich)

This event was dedicated to a discussion of the complexities of the pretexts, narratives, critical political economy and geopolitics of the war in Ukraine that is now in its ninth year. The discussion is organised around a reading of three different texts by three authors/Ukraine researchers with different areas of expertise. This discussion will be as political as it is scholarly (as always, but more so this time for obvious reasons).

The workshop aims to challenge conventional understandings and discourse, and to develop a deeper understanding of Ukraine’s political economy, its statehood and nationhood, strengths and weaknesses, socio-economic and societal ills. In doing so, the workshop will seek to draw materially-rooted conclusions that challenge the epistemological, ontological, and methodological weaknesses of conventional political economy, international relations, and political science approaches to understanding the world, and to do so outside Eurocentrism and its equally limiting critique.

The workshop will open with an outline of the major challenges facing Ukraine at the moment and the state of the war to date, followed by brief interventions from the authors before opening up for discussion.


Alona LiashevaWithout shelter: housing policy in wartime

Marko Bojcun – On the Current State of Negotiations, April 2022

Yuliya Yurchenko – Fighting for Ukrainian Self-Determination

Further readings/links:

A critical political economy of health movements

A critical political economy of health movements

La Marea Blanca toma la calle para protestar contra el recorte horario en los centros de salud | Mireia López Sánchez

Thursday 24 February 

5pm (GMT)/6pm (CET)

Mònica Clua-Losada (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) 

Olatz Ribera-Almandoz (CIDOB: Barcelona Centre for International Affairs)

Mary Naughton (University College Dublin)

Mònica Clua-Losada and Olatz Ribera-Almandoz will discuss their recent paper, ‘Health movements in the age of austerity: rescaling resistance in Spain and the United Kingdom‘.

The paper analyses the rescaling strategies implemented in public health services in Spain and the UK during the current economic crisis, and contributes to the understanding of the scalar dynamics and strategies of two social struggles against the privatisation of hospitals and health centres in these two contexts: Marea Blanca (White Tide) in Madrid and Keep Our NHS Public in Greater Manchester. It argues that social movements are more successful when they exploit scale shifts to transform institutions into centres of resistance.

This will be followed by reflections from Mary Naughton on the critical political economy of health care and resistance, and beyond, that the paper raises. 

Followed by an open discussion.

We are very pleased to have such excellent speakers join us.

Monica Clua-Losada is a Professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. Her research focuses on Critical Political Economy (CPE) and the role of subaltern groups, with a focus on labour in the context of authoritarian neoliberalism. As well as being an earlier convenor of the the CPERN board and currently co-editor-in-chief of the new journal, Global Political Economy.

Olatz Ribera-Almandoz is a Associate Researcher at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs) in the area of migration. She is also a member of the Johns Hopkins University – Universitat Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center. Her research focuses on the interactions between social agents and public institutions in the context of multilevel states, with a special focus on migration and asylum policies and the (new) demands of social justice, welfare and housing. She recently completed a PhD in Political and Social Sciences at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona).

Mary Naughton is based at UCD, where she works with the ERC project: Labour Politics and the EU’s New Economic Governance Regime. She recently published, ‘Mobilising societal power: Understanding public support for nursing strikes‘, in the Industrial Relations Journal.

We look forward to seeing you there!

CPERN workshop: Fraternal capitalism with Bhabani Shankar Nayak

For the January 2022 CPERN monthly workshop we were joined by Bhabani Shankar Nayak who is a political economist at the University for the Creative Arts, UK, and whose research interests include political economy, South Asia, the market, microfinance, faith and the Hindu religion and capitalism. His recent book, Hindu Fundamentalism and the Spirit of Global Capitalism in India, focused on the relationship between the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and mining-led capitalism while evaluating the impact on the new economic reforms on tribals and their social, cultural, and religious identities in Odisha. In the paper presented we considered Odisha from the perspective of microfinance and microcredit networks, as a framework for capitalist accumulation.

The paper was followed by a discussion led by CPERN board member, Yuliya Yurchenko

Fraternal Capitalism examines microfinance and microcredit networks led by local, regional NGOs, COs and Self-Help Groups in Odisha. The paper further explores the link between these networks and different regional, local, national and international agencies tapping the small savings of rural poor. It is organised and securitised by the Government of India and Odisha to create and facilitate a fraternal framework for capitalist accumulation processes in rural Odisha. It shows the dynamic nature of global capitalism that engages with small savings of rural poor.