[CfP] Conference 2017 – Political Economy of State Transformations in Greece, Turkey and Eastern Mediterranean Region (Neoliberalism WG)

Proposal for a Call for Papers for IIPPE 2017 under WG Neoliberalism

Political Economy of State Transformations in Greece, Turkey and Eastern Mediterranean Region

Neoliberalism has been the dominant form of global capitalism since the early 1980s. Neoliberal transitions in various countries have been based on the systematic use of state power at different scales – including the international, supra-national and national – to initiate a hegemonic project for the reconstitution of the rule of capital in most areas of social life. The political counterpart of these processes has been the incremental limitation of the domestic political sphere through the insulation of ‘markets’ and investors from democratic and social accountability, and the imposition of a stronger imperative of labour control allegedly to promote international competitiveness. While the implementation of the neoliberal policy agenda has initiated a process of cumulative transformations in class relations and property rights, it has also propelled a variety of forms of resistance as there has been a shift from a politics of redistribution to a politics of austerity. These become pertinent issues and gain both theoretical and political saliency in the wake of the protracted crisis of global capitalism, given the different forms of resistance to neoliberalism in the periphery of the capitalist world.

Despite their distinct modalities of integration into the world economy, this has also been the experience of the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. In fact, the experiences of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus seem to suggest a rather paradoxical outcome which requires further examination: the political and economic crises turn out to be the driving forces of neoliberal transformation as the outcome of these crises tends to be the reinforcement of the rule of neoliberalism. In particular, the analysis of the role played by the crises in “the reproduction of class domination” or rather for “the restoration of unstable class hegemony”, not only in the Eurozone members such as Greece and Cyprus, but also those outside the EU such as Turkey is especially pertinent for such a theoretical evaluation. The diverse dynamics entailed in these states need not be an obstacle for the development of fruitful debates regarding the potential implications and transformations entailed in each within a comparative perspective.

The comparison of different ‘mechanisms’ involved in historically specific national contexts such as the transmission of policy discourses and/or accumulation strategies and/or different forms of financialisation which assume the need for change in the so-called path-dependent forms of state will, in turn, shed light about the ways in which different interests are structured. Moreover, the introduction of new dynamics such as the flow of migrants from the war torn countries in the region and the discovery of new hydro-carbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean also requires attention.

The proposed call for papers aims to gather contributions focusing on the countries of Eastern Mediterranean, examining topics including the following:

  • whether (and the extent to which) the recent developments should be considered as ‘crisis in neoliberalism’ or a ‘crisis of neoliberalism’.
  • the authoritarian turn in Turkey and/or the emergence of a neo-fascist political right in Greece.
  • the role played by the economic and political crises in enhancing or debilitating the possibilities of a counter-hegemonic strategy.
  • the implications of the crisis for the left and for political movements critical of the developments.

Galip Yalman yalman@metu.edu.tr

George Labrinidis geolabros@gmail.com

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