2012 IIPPE Annual Conference

Call for Papers

Political economy and the outlook for capitalism

Joint conference AHE, IIPPE, FAPE July 5 – 8, 2012, Paris, France


The collapse of Lehman Brothers on 16 September 2008 has opened a new stage of economic history, ushering in the world’s worst recession since WWII. The trajectory of global capitalism has been diverse but, after three years of deep crisis, protracted economic problems persist and are even intensifying, notwithstanding accelerated growth in a number of large developing countries.

In the global North, policies implemented in the aftermath of the crisis of financialised capitalism have neither ended the neoliberal agenda nor curbed the demands of a resurgent financial sector. Instead, after a diluted Keynesian moment centred on “quantitative easing”, the governments of the richest countries have launched a new set of neoliberal reforms characterised by harsh austerity measures. From 2009 onwards, this new neoliberal wave has spread progressively from peripheral European countries to the UK, the Eurozone, and now the USA. Along with surging unemployment rates, this economic onslaught, on those who are in no way perceived as accountable for the crisis and slump, promises a period of major social disruption in welfare provision and institutions, pressures on wages and working conditions and, in response across a growing number of countries, multitudes of spontaneous and, occasionally, mass actions as macroeconomic prospects deteriorate.

In the global South, the forces putatively driving catch-up remain limited and highly uneven, with the issue of global imbalances often placed at the forefront in deference to the US’s compromised if continuing hegemonic role. In contrast, not least in the face of the ongoing ecological disruption, the idea of a new frontier for social and economic development and thought is being promoted by a large spectrum of actors, ranging from proponents of no-growth or slow growth through to governments, international institutions and corporations who envisage a revival of capitalism thanks to and in pursuit of the green economy. These initiatives are indicative of an intellectual and material crisis but offer little by way of solution for which, as observed, a savage renewal of neoliberalism serves as the default option. The scientific issues raised by the corresponding range of problems are formidable, but the blindness and reductionism of mainstream economics prevents them from being tackled within the discipline which has scarcely been disturbed by the acute exposure of its inadequacies by the crisis.

Taking pluralism as the means for bringing together the community of critical economists, this joint conference, called by two major international and one of the largest national networks of political economy and social scientists, will breathe fresh air into an otherwise moribund intellectual atmosphere. It is a major event that will bring together scholars from all strands of political economy and heterodox economics in order to discuss their future and the recent developments in the global economy and in economic science following the global economic crisis. Submissions of individual abstract or panel proposals along the following non-exclusive themes are welcomed.

Theoretical Perspectives

  • Critical Realism in Economics
  • Feminist economics
  • Green economics
  • Institutional economics
  • Marxist political economy
  • Post-Keynesian economics
  • Social Economics


  • Global economic crisis
  • Austerity in the global north
  • The crisis of the Eurozone
  • Economic crisis and the developing world
  • China and the world economy
  • Economics and the Arab world


  • Neoliberalism
  • Financialisation
  • Ecology: global capitalism and climate change
  • The global shift of capitalism / Global economy towards a multipolar world
  • International Financial Institutions
  • Labour markets
  • Poverty


  • Economics and intradisciplinarity: crossing the disciplinary boundaries
  • Economic methodology
  • Economics and philosophy
  • The ethics of economics
  • History of economic thought
  • Mainstream economics: not fit for purpose
  • Pluralism and economic education

Deadline for abstracts of individual papers and panels: 31st January 2012 (Authors will be notified about our decision by the 15th of March 2012)

  • Deadline for registration (with reduced fee): 14th May 2012
  • Deadline for full refereed papers: 14th May 2012
  • Deadline for non-refereed full papers: 1st June 2012

Conference Web

Panel/Stream Proposal

Economics: Unfit for Purpose

The current crisis and recession have cruelly exposed the inadequacies of mainstream economics in all of its versions to a wide and, at times, incredulous audience. Yet, there is very little sign that significant changes are underway within the mainstream to acknowledge let alone to take account of its continuing inadequacies. Indeed, it is such a lack of critical introspection and capacity to confront external realities that have marked the discipline over the period of neoliberalism and beyond. Whilst such inadequacies have long been recognised, criticised and, to a large extent, addressed by heterodox economists, the latter continue to be marginalised within the discipline. Nonetheless, the current circumstances offer a timely occasion on which to revisit the nature of the mainstream and to argue for alternatives, not least for the new generations of students and scholars who will be informed by the huge gap between the concerns of the discipline and the nature of its object of enquiry, the economy. In this vein, we call for submissions under the general theme of “Unfit for Purpose”, especially seeking contributions that deal with the main fields or methods of economics but without wishing to exclude more specialised topics. Ideally, contributions should explain how and why the discipline became the way it is, what is wrong with it, and what are the alternatives. Abstracts should be submitted to Ben Fine (bf@soas.ac.uk) and Dimitris Milonakis (milonakis@econ.soc.uoc.gr) by end of January, 2012, but preferably earlier. For conference details visithttp://www.assoeconomiepolitique.org/political-economy-outlook-for-capitalism/data/uploads/call_for_papers-political_economy_and_the_outlook_for_capitalism.pdf

Social Capital Working Group

Social Capital Working Group Panel Proposal: Pierre Bourdieu and Economics

A panel with a general theme on the contribution of Pierre Bourdieu in economics: Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) is a French sociologist, who has used the concept of social capital, along with forms of cultural and symbolic capital, to explain the reproduction of capitalist social structures and power relations. Also, he is known for his personal engagement in social struggles against neoliberal globalisation, and his active participation in the movement for intellectual autonomy and the protection of public interest.

Social Capital Working Group Panel Proposal: Social Capital, Trust and Public Spirit

A panel on “social capital, trust and public spirit”: In the last three years the global political economy has been experiencing uncertainty and instability not only under the international financial perspective but also under a more institutional one: Arab Spring, European Crisis, “Greek” crisis and so on. Social Capital, Trust and Public Sprit are part of this scenario acting as factors able to affect and/or to be affected by economic, institutional and financial instability. The panel aims to open an interesting discussion about the role of social capital, trust and public spirit in relation to economic and institutional aspects.

Marxist Political Economy Working Group

The Marxist Political Economy Working Group of IIPPE is seeking submissions for the third IIPPE international conference to be held in Paris, France, 5-8 July 2012. Serving as one of the IIPPE’s main areas of commitment, Marxist political economy sustained a strong presence during the past conferences, and is expected to do so in the coming event, not least under the current overall theme, ‘Political economy and the outlook for capitalism’.

As a working group, we are planning to organise (streams of) panels around some specific themes. However, we do not exclude papers beyond these proposed topics, and will do our best to arrange forums for discussion for any papers falling within the bounds of Marxist political economy. In addition, we also encourage contributors whether individually or collectively to propose their own panels/streams. Abstracts for papers should be submitted to Gong H. Gimm (ghgimm@gmail.com) and/or Heesang Jeon (hidarang@gmail.com) by the end of December, 2011. For panel proposals, they should reach us by 15 December, 2011.

The two panels/streams we propose are: (1) Knowledge, Contemporary Capitalism and Value Theory; and (2) Value Theory and the World Economy.

(1) Knowledge, Contemporary Capitalism and Value Theory

The unprecedented scale and scope of technological developments in the last sixty years have brought about the need to reconsider the role of knowledge, especially science and technology, and its location within contemporary capitalism. Many theories, hypotheses and nomenclatures have been proposed to address this need, including but not limited to the knowledge economy, post-industrial society, cognitive capitalism theory, new growth theory and so on.

We are seeking contributions from diverse perspectives, especially those critically engaging with the approaches mentioned above, ranging from abstract theoretical work studying the role of knowledge in economic theories to case studies of specific industries or activities. In particular, we welcome contributions drawing from Marx’s value theory, on the following topics:

  • Worker Skills and the Value of Labour Power
  • Labour Process Theory and Software
  • Cognitive Capitalism
  • Critique of New Growth Theory
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Value Theory
  • Knowledge and Creative Destruction

(2) Value Theory and the World Economy

As with its predecessors since Marx’s time, the current economic crisis is also a crisis of economics. And the helplessness of today’s mainstream economics is most dramatically revealed in its inability to recognise the nature of capitalism as a world economy. This is one of the main reasons Marxist political economy is gaining popularity these days. But what is the Marxist theory of the world economy?

Whilst it is true that generations of Marxist political economists from Lenin and Luxemburg to Brenner and Harvey, as well as Marx himself, have keenly aspired to address that aspect of capitalism, still there is plenty of room for further development and controversy. Theoretically, this is mainly because it has been extremely difficult to extend Marx’s well-founded but highly abstract value theory in light of the relatively concrete phenomena prevailing at the ‘world’ level. To perform this task adequately, it is necessary to confront a series of problems to be resolved before even being able to face the main task: the peculiarities of Marx’s ‘method’; the relationship between the stages in Marx’s intellectual development, not least the interpretation of his notorious ‘Six-Book Plan’ which assigns a specific place to the world economy/market; and the conceptualisation of the mode of production and its periodisation at the world economy level; and so on. Some stimulus and complexity arises as formerly unpublished manuscripts and notebooks of Marx containing important hints about how he regarded the world economy are made available. On the other hand, the world economy itself has been changing with unprecedented rapidity and complexity since around the time Marx wrote Capital, posing new sets of problems to each generation of Marxists over and over again. While this has contributed to producing various (quasi-)Marxist theories of the global concerning imperialism, dependency, uneven and combined development, world systems, unequal exchange etc., it also seems to have impeded a fully fledged deliberation about how the world economy can be located within Marx’s mature value theory. Against this background, we propose to hold a panel/stream under the theme ‘Value Theory and the World Market’, and look for contributors. Papers, either theoretical or empirical, may deal with specific Marxist theories of the global, or focus upon any methodological problems arising in extending value theory, or any specific topic at the ‘world’ level such as crisis, financialisation, the relationship between the national, the local, and the global etc.

Ontology and the Transformation of Economics

Organisers: Stephen Pratten, Tony Lawson

In recent years some heterodox economists have argued that explicit ontological analysis and elaboration is key to the fruitful transformation of economics. An emphasis on ontology helps to pinpoint the nature and limitations of current approaches to economics Those advocating the importance of ontological analysis demonstrate how it can not only clarify the presuppositions and concerns that heterodox traditions share in common but also helps identify those matters that serve to differentiate them from one another. Sustained ontological elaboration can also inform the search for methods appropriate for investigating economic and social phenomena. Those promoting this ontological turn have also been concerned to interrogate and elaborate core social and economic categories such as institutions, technology, gender and money. The current configuration of economic crisis and heightened concern about the state of economics provides a timely opportunity for further evaluation of the potential of ontological analysis. We invite submissions under the general theme of ‘Ontology and the Transformation of Economics’ and welcome contributions that seek to explore how ontology can contribute to increasing the explanatory power, or general relevance, of the discipline. We also welcome contributions that seek to draw out implications of ontological theorising for issues in the history of economic thought, the prospects for interdisciplinary projects, and any other endeavour of interest to political economists. Abstracts should be submitted to Stephen Pratten (stephen.pratten@kcl.ac.uk) by the end of January 2012.

Urban and Regional Political Economy

Following two highly successful the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE) conferences in Political Economy, the Association for Heterodox Economics (AHE), the French Association of Political Economy (FAPE), and IIPPE are jointly coordinating the Third International Conference of Political Economy in Paris, July 5-8, 2012. The theme of the conference is “Political Economy and the Outlook of Capitalism”. Most of the analysis of the global economic crisis takes place in terms of national economies, treated as unitary entities, interacting in the world economy. This stream aims to open the ‘black-box’ of national economies and look at the social relations and processes that occur in localities and regions at the sub-national level. Processes and developments at the level of localities can vary a great deal within and between countries yet they are crucial to both local and national outcomes.

We call for papers that analyse local relations and processes and those that link localities with larger-scale territories. In particular, we encourage work around the following themes:

  • the internal relations between space – territory, distance, scale – and social processes, and the way in which social actors use space.
  • the social processes and relations of the monetised ‘economy’, waged and unwaged work, the reproduction of people within homes and neighbourhoods using commodity consumption and public services, associated cultures of work and social life, popular collective organisations, and the interventions of the state;
  • the distinct sites and spaces of industries, public and private services, domestic work, housing, transport, the built and natural environment, public space, and the state.
  • the local as a site of oppression and exploitation and of struggles against them

In addition to submission of individual papers, we are open to the submission of panel proposals of 2-4 presentation each. The conference will also provide an opportunity to further the work of the IIPPE Urban and Regional Political Economy Working Group.

Abstracts of individual papers (max. 250 words) or panel proposals (max. 250 words plus abstracts of the individual papers) should be sent toparisiippeurban@yahoo.co.uk by the 15th of February. Please send the abstracts to us in the first instance, rather than the conference organisers.