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Session Overview
RN06_10: The Political Economy of Neoliberal Transformations
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: David J. Bailey, University of Birmingham
Session Chair: Angela Wigger, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Location: GM.332
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Toward a Political Economy of Policing under Authoritarian Neoliberalism

Malte Michael Laub

King's College London, United Kingdom

This paper aims to present a political economy framework of policing under authoritarian neoliberalism. It maintains that while an expanded understanding of authoritarianism is necessary to analyse contemporary neoliberalism(s), 'traditional' accounts of authoritarianism focusing on coercion and force must not be neglected and have indeed been crucial for the (re)production of neoliberal order-also in the Global North.

Based on PhD research, including fieldwork in South London during a time when austerity measures on many levels, cuts to policing, and the so called 'knife crime epidemic' dominated the UK's headlines, the paper shows how intertwined everyday policing and neoliberalism are and how this relationship manifests itself in London.

The paper explores this reciprocally constitutive yet at times contradictory relationship and introduces a historical perspective on the role of policing. It argues that, while policing has always been a crucial factor in the making of capitalism, its has been particularly relevant for processes of neoliberalisation. Political economy analyses of neoliberalism therefore need to be informed by an appreciation of the role of policing.

Theorizing Cities and Neoliberalism: Accounting for Systemic vs. Contingent Aspects of Neoliberal Transformations

Aleksandra Piletic

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The

Over the past several decades, a great deal of urban studies and political geography research has touched upon the different ways in which cities have been impacted by and reconfigured under neoliberalization. A number of endeavors, particularly in recent years, have also tackled specific aspects of urban neoliberalization from an IPE perspective. This has produced a rich and diverse body of scholarship that has immensely advanced our understanding of present-day urban transformations. At the same time, this literature has made it increasingly difficult to speak of neoliberalism in a unified sense, due to the very diverse ways in which it is manifested. I argue that, in order to establish a comprehensive, comparative understanding of neoliberalization of cities, it is necessary to account both for the systemic and the contingent ways in which neoliberalism is articulated.

In this paper, I therefore focus on the theoretical and methodological aspects of studying the neoliberalization of cities. I build on existing contributions in critical IPE literature to expand the understanding of neoliberalism as a process, to situate its various stages in time and to investigate the role of cities in its articulation. In particular, I draw on the French Regulation school and its understanding of institutions, which I embed within Margaret Archer’s morphogenetic approach and its conception of the dynamic interplay between structure and agency. In this way, I argue that it becomes possible to identify both the systemic aspects of neoliberalism (that allow us to talk about it as a unified mechanism) and the contingencies that arise depending on the city (based on various path-dependencies and geographical and institutional specificities).

Back to the Village. Undisciplined Notes on Ordoliberal Communitarianism

Gerardo Costabile Nicoletta

University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Through the case study of Italian southern regions, the paper argues that technologies of classification and administrative devices promoted by European Union multi-level governance have tremendously empowered new socio-political alliances between regional bureaucracies, EU regulation professional experts, economic experts, export-oriented national firms and transnational investors. The paper shows how local development policies have been progressively transformed into a diffuse laboratory for ordoliberal governmental practices actively encouraging new waves of commodification of territories mobilizing local communities in the creation of new processes of valorization. An undisciplined and profane transnational historical sociology informs the empirical research based on interviews to local professional economists, discursive analysis of institutional documents and ethnographic inquiry in Italian southern regions 'local' contexts. Firstly, the paper retraces a genealogy of subsidiarity and communitarianism in the Italian and continental ordoliberal thought contextualized the broader transnational socio-political conflicts. The second part analyses economic experts discourses and practices in valorizing territories within the broader EU strategies for local development and subsidiarity. The analysis shows how neo-communitarian identities, normatively committed to growth imperatives, are discursively and institutionally produced as a strategy to compete in the global economy while the export-oriented agro-business and transnational investors, attracted by the institution of new economic spatialities, such as Special Economic Zones, continue to dominate political agendas. Finally, the paper highlights cracks and limits of these governmentalities offering a narrative of everyday sabotaging practices and resistance experiences to ordoliberal neo-communitarianism, paying particular attention to ethical, epistemological and political concerns in the academic studying these practices.

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