AAC – Mini-Conférence SASE “Profits and Markets in Times of Catastrophes” (submissions until February 10th)
Appel à communications pour une mini-conférence de la SASE (2-5 juillet).
Date-limite de soumission des contributions (1000 mots) : 10 février.
Profits and Markets in Times of Catastrophes. (Re-)Organizing Capitalism through Political, Environmental, and Health DisastersOrganisers: Dr Théo Bourgeron (University College Dublin), Prof Susi Geiger (University College Dublin), Prof Annmarie Ryan (University of Limerick), Dr Matthew Soener (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
Among the main threats to social order are the growing devastation of the environment, rising authoritarianism, and the COVID-19 pandemic. While capitalism has played a central role in generating these crises, these looming disasters entertain an ambiguous relationship with the accumulation process. They disturb “business as usual”, but they also generate new profit opportunities for capitalist actors (Klein 2007). This opens a new field of investigation for socio-economic research, as it becomes crucial to understand changes in the organisation of capitalism during times of disasters. The mini conference will address several interrelated themes that will help explore this issue; across all themes, we particularly invite diverse global perspectives:
- Capital accumulation and authoritarianism in a world at risk of war. As inequalities have reached record-high levels, the recent period has seen a weakening of civil liberties, the rise of authoritarian governments in many democracies, and increased geopolitical tensions between governments. Scholars have highlighted how neoliberal accumulation regimes foster authoritarianism (Brown 2015), while others have shown how wars do not prevent profit accumulation (Harvey 2003; Banerjee 2005). What are the links between the current accumulation regimes and the rise of authoritarianism? How does capital accumulation perpetuate itself in an increasingly authoritarian world at risk of war?
- Profits and markets in times of environmental disasters. Capitalocene is characterised by the simultaneous crises of mass extinction and climate change, directly resulting from the pursuit of capital accumulation (Moore 2015). Environmental dispossession also affects populations, strengthening already-existing social, gender, and racial inequalities. However, with the help of policymakers (and the “new climate regime”: Latour 2015), economic actors increasingly turn environmental crises into new markets (e.g. “green finance”). How do environmental crises and their social consequences transform markets and profit strategies? What are the consequences of these changes on societies and inequalities?
- Reorganising markets and capital accumulation through global pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has consolidated existing trends toward monopolisation. Digital multinationals have seen revenues soar to the detriment of smaller firms, and pharmaceutical firms have enjoyed unprecedented access to the highest levels of national and international policy. How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect the hierarchies between economic actors and capital accumulation processes? How could policy actors, civil society and alternative economy actors stem the tide of monopolisation precipitated by the pandemic?
- Stemming disaster capitalism. On a more hopeful note, what are the possibilities that disasters open up for a transformation of accumulation regimes in the interest of the people? What (new) strategies of resistance against these accumulation regimes emerge? Among other issues we will consider the scope for academic activism (e.g. political ethnography: Juris and Khasnabish 2013) and study the renewal of resistance movements that people develop as a result of finding themselves “in a world of fire” (Malm 2021).
As an interdisciplinary mini-conference, it is open to academics developing critical approaches of capitalism in fields including sociology, political economy, market studies, organization studies, and economic geography. It welcomes scholars from all continents and at all stages of their career.