Call for Papers: ClassCrits VI

This year’s ClassCrits meeting will be at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, November 15-16.  The deadline for abstracts and panel proposals is fast approaching:  March 20, 2013.

The call follows, and you can get more details here.  Send proposals to classcrits@gmail.com.

The theme of this year’s workshop–the sixth meeting of ClassCrits–is debt, austerity and the possibilities of the political. The economic crisis of 2008 was a referendum on the failures of deregulation and neoliberal ideology all over the world. Far from being a sophisticated mechanism to absorb and diffuse systemic economic risk, the crisis exposed a fragile global financial system characterized by dysfunctional imbalances of increasingly precarious and largely unregulated risk societies. In the United States, the social contract of class mobility and the “American Dream” financed with “easy” credit was exposed as an empty promise. In the European context, the sovereign debt crisis resulted in the imposition of draconian austerity measures in several nation-states, like Greece, undermining social safety nets and wage structures, rupturing traditional alliances, and driving down individual standards of living. At the same time, the Occupy Movement—and similar movements across the globe—refocused attention on socio-economic inequality for the first time in decades. The old ways of seeing things proved inadequate for framing the changing realities of the new post-recession world. But whatever the initial shock to the social order, political and financial elites everywhere have since doubled down on the failed neoliberal project with a mania for balancing budgets in the name of discredited austerity policies which have only accelerated neoliberalism’s upward transfer and concentration of wealth and intensified the class stratification in contemporary global societies. Stuck in the grip of austerity groupthink and faced with nation states captured by elite interests─a trend only made worse in the United States by Citizens United─any movement forward will require creatively leveraging national political and legal systems as instruments for progressive economic change and deleveraging social class divides.

What are the possibilities and alternatives for a genuinely progressive economic project in an age of resurgent neoliberal policies and politics, worldwide shifts in population and demographics, and hegemonic economics? How can we address the challenges of our age including, but not limited to: globalization; shifting power relationships between the developed world and formerly “third world” countries; massive intergenerational and upward transfers of wealth; abject poverty; staggering debt; wage stagnation; a declining middle class; an increasingly dysfunctional food system; and environmental and climate risks that will require concerted national and international efforts. Stuck in Forward? Debt, Austerity and the Possibilities of the Political will address these questions by bringing together scholars, economists, activists, policymakers, and others to critically examine and take stock of who wins, who loses, how the law facilitates the hierarchical and spatial distribution of winners and losers, and how we may use law and politics to develop both real and utopian interstitial spaces of classlessness within the new post-recession global order.