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Thirty Years of Capitalist Transformations in Central and Eastern Europe: Inequalities and Social Resistance, Cluj-Napoca, 2020

5 aprilie 2020


The „Thirty Years of Capitalist Transformations in Central and Eastern Europe: Inequalities and Social Resistance” conference will take place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 5 April 2020.

In 1909 Karl Polanyi defended his PhD in Cluj/Kolozsvár and went on to become one of the century’s canonical thinkers in political economy. The intellectual milieus of the Austro-Hungarian Empire produced the century’s seminal debates in social science in general and political economy in particular, and Polanyi, raised in this milieu, became an iconic figure in the interdisciplinary study of market-society relations. Meanwhile, some of the societies of Polanyi’s formative years experienced the century’s most dramatic upheavals, from revolution to reaction, from capitalism to socialism and back to capitalism. Today, some of these lands are at the heart of emerging nationalist, neoliberal and illiberal hybrid that sprung from the crisis of global capitalism, even as these countries have recorded very high growth rates and increasing global competitiveness.

Thirty years after the end of real existing socialism, we get together in the city of Polanyi’s terminal PhD period to reflect on two themes inspired by his work : (1) the promises, structural limits and crisis mechanisms of the capitalist mosaic that emerged in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans and (2) the alternative political projects that could address market-society relations given the growing global inequalities and the harrowingly extensive environmental degradation that puts at risk the well-being of present and future generations.

Our approach can be termed as a form of engaged scholarship. It departs from the twin observation that in no other part of Europe have there been more radical and entrenched offensives to attain what Polanyi termed “the market society” as in CEE and the Western Balkans and the political, demographic and environmental limits of this transformation have nearly been reached. Our aim is to confront this situation by building a network of engaged and critically minded scholars, policy makers, artists, activists whose work can illuminate the mechanisms, discourses, subjectivities and resources of the political and economic status quo in order to supply the informed imagination of how to overcome contemporary problems in inclusive, emancipating and green directions.

Keynote Speakers:
Dorothee Bohle (European University Institute, Florence)
Jonathan Hopkin (London School of Economics)
Costas Lapavitsas (SOAS University of London)

Venue: The conference will take place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Cluj is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city from Transylvania. It is one of the most developed economic and commercial centers in Romania with booming IT, financial and communication industries. It is also a strongly gentrified city with deep social inequalities and racialized peripheries. The city is well connected to the main cities of Europe through railway and an international airport that also operates low-costs flights. The Organizing Committee will provide assistance and suggestions to all participants for affordable hotels and hostels during the conference. We look forward to welcoming you in Transylvania!

Organizing Committe: Maria Cernat (Institute for Social Solidarity), Mihai Vasile (Institute for Social Solidarity), Camil Pârvu (Institute for Social Solidarity), Sorin Gog (Institute for Social Solidarity), Ciprian Bogdan (Institute for Social Solidarity), Valentina Dimulescu (Institute for Social Solidarity), Andrei Herța (Institute for Social Solidarity).

For any inquires please contact:
Sorin Gog (Institute for Social Solidarity and Babeș-Bolyai University), e-mail: sorin.gog@ubbcluj.ro.

Complet information about the event at this link.


5 aprilie 2020
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Institutul pentru Solidaritate Socială
Facultatea de Sociologie și Asistență Socială, Universitatea „Babeș-Bolyai”, Cluj-Napoca

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