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Call for Papers

Designing and Transforming Capitalism
Thursday/Friday 9-10 February 2012
Aarhus University, Denmark

Confirmed keynote speakers: Luc Boltanski (France), Katherine Gibson (Australia), Anne Balsamo (USA), Campbell Jones (New Zealand)

When all alternatives to capitalism seem exhausted or abandoned, creative and transformative energies and ideas descend upon capitalism itself. In practice and theory, in daily life choices and organizational changes, in legislative initiatives and academia, in initiatives taken by individuals and groups interesting work is being done to explore and use a transformative approach to capitalist processes trying to realize immaterial values, human resources and utopias within a capitalist framework.

In Marxist and neo-Marxist as well as liberal theories, capitalism seems to be the economically strong option without alternatives and the accumulative logic of capitalism the only possible way of economic thinking in contemporary societies. Nevertheless we see lots of signs of non-accumulative logics ruling traditional capitalist producers, consumers as well as traditional critics of capitalism. Green capitalism addresses traditional capitalism’s exploitative and instrumentalist approach to nature; Corporate Social Responsibility tries to tackle social issues locally and globally from within corporations; Social entrepreneurs are using the capitalist business model to solve pressing problems such as poverty or lack of clean water; designers are weaving creative solutions into the commodities and practices of our every day life. It seems to grow ever more difficult to distinguish between working within capitalism or working in order to change capitalism as capitalism seems to change from within rather than from without.

This conference addresses the question of capitalism’s transformative potentials and the limits to such transformations, if any such exists? How malleable are the logics and processes of capitalism? How is capitalism ceaselessly practiced and constantly redesigned? We aim to bring together people working within various fields often disconnected from each other but all centering their work on empirical and theoretical studies of how people and societies live with, deal with, negotiate, fight with and transform capitalism.

The conference will have four streams, each with its own set of themes. The listed themes are meant as suggestive and non-exhaustive. 

We invite paper proposals within:

Political capitalism (coordinators: Morten Raffnsøe & Mikkel Thorup)

• New forms of labor and their politics
• Everyday life in capitalism
• Work inside and outside the market
• New forms of political action inside and outside capitalism
• Transforming ownership, aims and organization in capitalism
• Political action in the market, civil society and the state
• Politics of leadership and performance management
• Accounting for money, love, ethics or happiness?
• Critical accounting

Civic Capitalism (coordinators: Anne Ellerup Nielsen & Christian Olaf Christiansen)

• Corporate citizenship
• Corporate Social Responsibility
• Ethical Capitalism
• Green Capitalism, Sustainability
• Stakeholder theories
• Sustainable investment
• Environmental development
• Social integration

Performative Capitalism (coordinators: Louise Fabian, Jonas Fritsch and Per Blenker)

• Self-organized communities as business opportunities
• Cultural citizenship
• Global Culture Industry
• Hyper, trans, cross, Re-phenomena
• Green bodies and environmental (online/offline) activism
• Posthumanitarian developments in charity work and communication
• Affect and vulnerability as tools of anti-capitalist mobilisation
• The commoditization of dissent
• Urban Interactions, Appropriations and Co-creativity in a design 

Consumer Capitalism (coordinators: Sophie Esmann Andersen & Carsten Stage)

• Anti-consumerism and consumer resistance
• Consumer movements, activism and cultural ideology
• Co-creation and co-creativity
• Consumer-citizenship or citizen-consumerism
• DIY consumer cultures
• Branded identities and brand hegemony

Please submit your abstract proposals (max 300 words) to Tina Friis ( ). For registration and further information look at the conference website:

Please indicate which stream your proposal refers to.

Deadline for paper proposal: October 15, 2011 (feedback on paper proposals November 1, 2011).

The conference is organized by the Departments of Aesthetics and Communication (Britta Timm Knudsen) and The Department of Culture and Society (Mikkel Thorup), Faculty of Arts and The Department of Language and Business Communication and Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences. Funded by The Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF) and The Velux Foundation.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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