BISA IPEG annual workshop 2014: IPE and the New Normal - Open Conflict After the Crash

How can a capitalist global economy be sustained if accumulation is radically uncertain?

Annual Workshop Call for Papers: BISA International Political Economy Group 2014

Host: University of Leeds, School of Politics and International Studies: Professor Raymond Bush, Dr Charles Dannreuther, Dr Jörg Wiegratz.

IPEG Convenor: Dr Phoebe Moore

Plenary speakers

Professor Jacqui True, Monash University: ‘Scandalous Economics: The New Normal of Gender after Financial Crisis’ Winner of BISA IPEG 2013 Book Prize

Dr Jan Drahokoupil, Senior researcher on multinational corporations at the European Trade Union Institute: ‘Dealing with the new normal on the company level: Labour agency and institutions of worker representation in European transnational companies’

Call for papers:

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?

How to submit proposals:

Email 150 – 200 word paper proposals to Phoebe Moore by 14/05/14.

  • You are also welcome to send panel suggestions. If you do this, please ensure that speakers are from more than one institution and try to get a good breadth of early and later career researchers.
  • Subsidies for PhD presenters’ travel and accommodation are paid with IPEG funding.

Location Details

University of Leeds