Rethinking the Role of Political Economy in Critical Theory

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC35 Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (host committee)

Language: English

This session explores the role of political economy in critical social theory and how the established nexus between them should be revised in order to facilitate a more effective critique of contemporary capitalism. The Frankfurt School’s greater concern with culture and subjectivity contributed to its distinction from other strands of Marxism. The later generations of the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory have, by and large, moved even further away from political economy and criticised the earlier adherence to some version of the leading role of political economy and value theory. Although there are suggestions of an alternative conception of political economy in the work of Jürgen Habermas and Axel Honneth, this possibility has never been fully developed and this has resulted in somewhat unsatisfactory lacunae in critical theory. This is particularly consequential because the recent crises and tendencies of capitalist societies have foregrounded problems relevant to political economy, like the financial crisis and recession, austerity regimes and expanding social inequality, among others. It may seem that the straightforward solution would be for critical theory to engage with developments in political economy, but such a view may overlook the complexity of the issues involved in such an engagement. Should critical theory reconnect with political economy? If so, should these connections include the wider strands of the heterodox economic theory, such as Keynes, Polanyi, Simmel, Myrdal, Piketty and so on? Likewise, what should be made of recent attempts within the tradition of critical theory to rethink categories of Marxist political economy?
Session Organizers:
Craig BROWNE, University of Sydney, Australia and Arthur BUENO, Universität Erfurt, Germany
Gurminder BHAMBRA, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Oral Presentations
Decolonising Class Analysis
John HOLMWOOD, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Externalization: The Hidden Side of Capitalism's Success
Stephan LESSENICH, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Department of Sociology, Germany
Reification and the Contradictions of Capital's Life-Process
Arthur BUENO, Universität Erfurt, Germany
Incentive Models between Financial Network and Critical Theory
Gilles VERPRAET, University Paris OUest Nanterre, France
Distributed Papers