Polygraph 24 Call for Papers, Special Issue: Resistance to Finance

full name / name of organization: 
Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture and Politics
contact email: 
lucas.perkins@duke.edu

What does financial capitalism demand of us in thought and in action today?

Financial capital is one of the fundamental structuring forces in our world. Evidence of this is ubiquitous: the severity and extent of the most recent global financial crisis, the collapse of whole national economies (as in Greece and Iceland), the steadily progressing securitization of pensions and savings, a growing volume of derivatives trading that already dwarfs "real" global GDP.

Yet many critical accounts of corporate globalization, free trade, neoliberalism, and so on all too rarely emphasize the fact that high finance constitutes the very condition of possibility of capitalism as we know it. Other available forms of economic critique, from world-systems theory to dependency theory to theories of Empire, often do grant high finance the central role that it in reality occupies, but rarely go beyond critique to directly address the question of resistance. Too often, critique remains mired in highlighting isolated acts and agents of malfeasance rather than producing totalizing, systemic claims with real leverage. We now know this state of affairs to be in need of immediate rectification.

We also know that action is demanded, but its contours are not yet well defined. The clout of finance capital has received ample attention in Marxist economics, neo-classical economics, and other quarters—yet the accounts produced thus far of what is to be done have been less than satisfactory. What political responses on the part of on-the-ground social movements and both current and potential bodies of governance are necessary? Are some already underway but obscured from view? What alternative economic futures can we begin to construct out of the wreckage of the most recent crisis and the structural shifts that produced and accompany it? Is it necessary to break the global economy of its speculative bent and return it to its "real" roots, or is this antithesis, stemming from Hilferding's classic critique of "fictitious capital," fundamentally ill-conceived? Should the focus of political action be shifted away from past struggles—against multinational corporations, free trade, and the powerful political allies of both—in the direction of the financial crux of the global economy? What would such a change in focus entail?

Potential topics:
Financial capitalism and Marxism
* The continued efficacy or potential obsolescence of previous critical outlooks (world systems theory, Empire theory, etc.) in confronting global finance
* The centrality of the question of global finance in any meaningful critical engagement with globalization
* Systemic global inequality, post-Fordism and crisis

Resistance
* Forms of political subjectivity capable of comprehending and acting within (and against) high finance as it stands
* What is the role of the state in confronting financial capital?
* Real and hypothetical political movements and direct action
* Strategies of flight and subtractive action, whether individual (e.g. walking away from mortgage contracts) or institutional (e.g. Argentina's post-crisis debt restructuring)

Alternative financial institutions and orders
* Jacques Sapir's recent call for a "new Bretton Woods" system (akin to Antonio Negri's call for a "new New Deal")
* Microfinance and financial decentralization
* The global Tobin tax on of financial transactions and other forms of regulation
* Neo-Luddism and the return to the "real" economy
* Radical political economy and the pursuit of anti-capitalist alternatives

Other
* Historical perspectives on high finance, dealing with periodization, secular trends, particular crises and institutions, and exemplary modes of resistance
* Mystification, abstraction and the "new" digital/virtual economy
* Epistemological barriers to adequate critique of the global financial system
* Perception and belief as primary structural forces in the financial system
* Artistic representations of the financial world as possible critical tools
* Socio-political underpinnings of the financialization of the world

Deadline for submissions: January 31, 2011
Email complete manuscripts to the issue editor at lucas.perkins@duke.edu.

cfp categories: 
interdisciplinary