This will be a Conference for Socialist Economists event with joint hosting from the Critical Political Economy Research Network. The first of these three debates was held at Westminster, see its report here. The second event will be held at Kingston University on 29th September, organised by Helen Palmer. 'New Materialism, political economy and the (re)productive body' will be the third and final event in this series.
The purpose of this third workshop is to revisit the debates in new or neomaterialism in the area of global political economy that were started by Jeffrey Harrod with his piece 'The Global Poor and Global Politics: Neomaterialism and the Sources of Political Action' in the much read text Poverty and the Production of World Politics edited by Matt Davies and Magnus Ryner.
Since this text, also in the area of global political economy, Cammack, Charnock and Taylor led on debates in new materialism from a Marxist perspective and Smith and Lee have led in the debates on corporeal capitalism. Feminist research in new materialism has been led by Braidotti and van der Tuin. Overall the shift in foci to the body, production and reproduction, ontology, capitalism, gender, quantification and nature have revived questions of materiality that are being discussed across critical areas of research. We see that a range of ‘turns’ are occurring: the corporeal, affective and ontological turns.
Our Debates in New Materialisms III event will revive questions of the political economy of new materialism given the new world of production and consumption we now live in. What is at stake for international political economy in the corporeal, affective and ontological ’turns'? Why are we seeing these ‘turns’ now? Is it because of intensified pressures after the economic crisis to compete or to survive? Is it because austerity drives people to bare life and exacerbates working and living conditions and politicises us to a new level? Have new technologies in workplaces intensified both management techniques and production processes in a way that violently abstracts the body? Are we questioning capitalism in new ways and considering new forms of political action and what does this mean for ‘bodies at work’? What are the practical and philosophical problem of assigning agency in digital networks and new spaces of dissent? Is the return to discussions of immanent, transcendental and materialist approaches a sign that we are querying Cartesian ontologies still pervading research in global political economy that place mind as dominant over the body and matter?