IPEG 2014 annual conference
Dates: 5th and 6th September 2014
Host: Leeds University Politics and International Studies Professor Raymond Bush, Dr Charles Dannreuther, Dr Jörg Wiegratz
IPEG Convenor and Programme Chair: Dr Phoebe Moore
Hugo Radice, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds: ‘After the crisis: global capitalism and the critique of political economy’
Professor Jacqui True, Monash University: ‘Scandalous Economics: The New Normal of Gender after Financial Crisis’ Winner of BISA IPEG 2013 Book Prize
Taking Soundings will co-run an event with IPEG organised by Leeds hosts, entitled ‘Debates Beyond Austerity? Alternative strategies for growth with justice and equity’
Friday night 5th September 6 – 7.30 nibbles and drinks served
Broadcasting Place – BPAG02 – opposite the Fenton pub. Woodhouse Lane LS2 9EN
TAKING SOUNDINGS SPEAKERS
Dr Charlie Dannreuther will talk about the ‘The Enterprise Decoy and the mundane economy’. Charlie works at the University of Leeds. He researches small business policy in the UK and other European countries to explore which reforms are made in their names and why. He has worked on projects in the Western Balkans designed to ground small business support and recently coordinated a large network across Europe that explored the social origins and consequences of the financial crisis.
Dr Phoebe Moore will talk about the ‘Decent work strategy’. Phoebe works at Middlesex University and her primary areas of research are transnational capitalism, production, workers’ rights, and the impact of technological change on societies and on people. She has published two single authored books that look at global neoliberalism and labour struggle.
Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge will talk about ‘The Potential Risks of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)’. Gabriel is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester, where he researches and teaches on the European Union and international political economy. His recent work has been focusing on the wide-ranging implications of the proposed EU-US free trade agreement.
The world of the 2010s is a fast-changing and highly conflict-laden political-economic territory: states and corporations in many places have changed many of their priorities, relationships and practices to the post-crash requirements of power and profit, survival and renewal. Notably, what many considered to be ‘unthinkable’, ‘outrageous’ and ‘backward’ only a while ago has now been established as what we are calling The New Normal (TNN) in many countries. In the Global North especially, we see an intensive attack on the welfare state, industrial relations, and democracy including popular protest; rule by law and we-spy-on-everybody, a late and soft response to large-scale corporate criminality; and a further militarized foreign policy. High unemployment, poverty, inequality, migration, insecurity multiplicity and an ever more open conflict (e.g. between capital and labour, capital and people) dominate life for millions of people and further advance the workings of TNN. Similarly in the Global South, the daily workings of post-crash capitalism and its intensified dynamics of resource competition, marginalization, poverty, corporate power & criminality, and corruption generate new conflicts and instabilities, and produce new frontiers of TNN in these early-adjusters-countries (SAPs et al.) as well.
And yet, a number of academic and policy debates still seem to expect for things to ‘go back’ to normal: to a newfound (largely win-win) societal structure with stability, order, and progress, and growth, rights and justice for all; in short, to equilibrium society and to capitalism proper. For instance, both liberal and conservative economists share the belief that modern economies self-stabilize after periods of crisis. However, the prolonged nature of the global downturn forces us to challenge these assumptions and to question the assumption of a return to ‘normal’ levels of growth, for example. As Jamie Galbraith has argued, ‘low’ or ‘no’ growth scenarios present significant problems for mainstream and non-mainstream approaches (let alone political actors such as governments/policy makers) in understanding the post-crash international political economy and the causes and consequences of the crisis. Richard Hyman had referred a new normal for the employment relationship even in 1987, a predecessor of the new workplace tyranny we face today.
The new normal also appears to be characterised by more explicit forms of open conflict that indicate that antagonisms once moderated by the promise of economic growth or inclusion have become hardened into explicit and open confrontations. So what has underpinned the old conflict and old forms of conflict management and why does it seemingly not work anymore? To what degree has conflict changed in nature and what and who drives the new open conflicts and shapes their management?
IPEG 2014 invites papers and panels that discuss the apparent ‘new normal’ by analyzing its drivers, characteristics and repercussions. Contributors to this event might address, for example, the IPE of the normalisation of TNN: How and why was ‘the old normal’ de-normalised and TNN normalised? What and who drives TNN in respective subject areas? What does TNN signify and to what degree has it made hidden structural forms of conflict explicit and open?
Was there resistance to TNN and how was it handled? What are the limits to TNN? How does something ‘unthinkable’ and ‘un-normal’ become normal? How does ‘the old’ fare in the world of TNN? How does one study the IPE of ‘normalisation’ of ‘the new’: of a new norm, practice, argument, discourse? How can one theorise and study the IPE of normalisation of ‘the regressive’; e.g., the IPE of regressive de-s: de-welfarisation, de-democratisation, etc.?
Further questions of interest might be: What are the implications of a no growth regime underpinning the international political economy? How can a capitalist global economy be sustained if accumulation is radically uncertain? What happens when new and dominant economies such as in China or East and Southeast Asian no longer find trade with depressed European economies attractive? How has conflict become more explicit in contemporary capitalism in the retrenchment of gender and racial segmentation in labour markets or in the transposition of structural adjustment policies from the periphery to the core? How far can market failures precipitated by the crisis be resolved by regulatory or technological innovations? What happens to the political process when the moderating role of the middle classes dissolves into open conflict over material needs, political representation and identity politics as they are radicalized through austerity measures and structural decline? (call for papers written collaboratively, thanks to Charlie, Jörg, Phoebe)