Research event

Capitalism and democracy in the 21st century: Polanyian perspective

This workshop is led by Christian Joerges (Hertie School/University of Bremen), Steven Klein (University of Florida/American Academy in Berlin) and Vladimir Bogoeski (Hertie School and Humboldt ELS). It is sponsored by the Jacques Delors Centre at the Hertie School and the American Academy in Berlin.

The workshop focuses on the economic sociology of Karl Polanyi and uses it as a lens to examine “the economic” that, as we believe, constitutes the core problématique of Western democracies in general and of the European integration project in particular. Our constitutional traditions have tended to treat the economy as a self-standing machinery in the private realm (Gesellschaft) beyond the rule and reach of democracy. Karl Polanyi is an exponent of an alternative vision. His classic Great Transformation has inspired analyses of the political dimensions of the economy. This critique with its twofold normative and factual arguments is attracting ever more attention in recent years. Steven Klein (University of Florida/American Academy in Berlin) is among the leading exponents of this renaissance. 

The project which he pursues at the American Academy in Berlin “draws together the thought of Polanyi with the tradition of critical social theory to develop a vision of the democratic transformation of the capitalist economy”. The Daimler lecture, which he has delivered there on 5 November 2019 was entitled “Can Democracy Tame Twenty-First Century Capitalism?”. This is a very rich essay, combining a novel reading of Polanyi’s economic sociology, with an intriguing analysis of the state of our democracies and the strategies of Europe’s management of the financial crisis. Steven’s text lays the groundwork for our workshop, and while speakers are bringing in their own research perspective, their interventions are directly engaging with and responding to Steven’s work.

Please find the full programme here.

Prior registration is required.