2nd EMES-Polanyi International Seminar

2nd EMES-Polanyi International Seminar

Societies in transition – Social and solidarity economy, the commons, public action and livelihood

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“Afterthoughts from the Seminar”

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After the success of the 1st EMES-Polanyi International Seminar held in Paris in February 2012, EMES in collaboration with the European Institute of Political Economy Karl Polanyi and the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, will organize the 2nd EMES-Polanyi International Seminar on 19th and 20th of May 2016.

After the focus on the economic crisis of the 1st Seminar, the main objective of this edition will be to contribute to the analysis of contemporary modalities of the relationship between economy and democracy.

The Seminar aims to achieve a complementarity among the following four thematic axes: 

  • Axis 1 – Social and solidarity economy, social enterprise, and associations
  • Axis 2 – Analyses of the commons
  • Axis 3 – Reconfigurations of public action
  • Axis 4 – Steps toward buen vivir

Overall if one aggregates the proposals of all authors cited, they recombine three analytical categories that neoliberalism seeks to eliminate: the teleological perspective, deliberation, and the diversity of economic principles.

  1. Ostrom mobilizes the teleological perspective of the common good by connecting it to a collective attempt to reach a problematization of ‘the common’ whereby goals are linked to the means used to achieve them. This perspective is reinforced by the use of public spaces and actions in Habermas and Dewey as well as by the reference to the diversity of economic principles in Polanyi and Mauss.
  2. Habermas focuses on the criticism to the relevance of the aggregative paradigm of individual preferences and substitutes it with the paradigm of deliberation. Dewey shows that it is not simply a matter of forming opinions: deliberation can be mobilized in the very course of action of a given public.
  3. As for Polanyi and Mauss, they oppose the reduction of the economy to the market, something which Habermas was not able to leave behind. They reject the conceptual anachronism of ‘catallactics’, that is to say, the spontaneous market order proposed by Hayek. Their search for economic democracy can in turn be based on democratic elements identified by Habermas and Dewey, as well as on the resistance to commodification that does not lapse into statism thanks to Ostrom.

This complementarity among the cited authors and others in their understanding of contemporary practices deserves further study with a view to clarifying both the obstacles encountered as well as and the progress that it allows.

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