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Money Menace


15-17 August 2012
Call for Papers
Essex Business School, University of Essex
Colchester, UK

‘…In what is broadly called commentary, the hierarchy between primary and secondary text plays two roles which are in solidarity with each other. On the one hand it allows the (endless) construction of new discourses. The dominance of the primary text… the basis for an open possibility of speaking. But on the other hand the commentary’s only role, whatever the techniques used, is to say at last what was silently articulated “beyond”, in the text. By a paradox which it always displaces but never escapes, the commentary must say for the first time what had, nonetheless, already been said, and must tirelessly repeat what had, however, never been said.’ (Foucault, 1981: 55-56)

Critical Finance Studies Conference

Studying finance critically is playing with / being played by the normative forces of financial apparatuses; risking one’s self in the course of producing radically novel ways of thinking and comprehending finance and, ultimately, of creating new possibilities of life. With this in mind the Fourth Annual Critical Finance Studies conference will be held this year at the University of Essex, Essex Business School, August 15th -17th. With a conference gap in 2011 and with a financial crisis that is still on the agenda, and perhaps even stronger than ever, even compared with 2008, we have decided to devote this year’s conference to the ongoing financial crisis.

The Financial Crisis– futures and pasts re-interpreted

We strongly encourage papers that contribute to our ongoing collaborative research project that seeks to engage finance in new and critical ways and from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. This is especially important when trying to understand the current ‘financial situation’, e.g. how people in everyday work and life are affected, how the environment is affected, how theories cope and adapt in the face of a protracted crisis, and how politicians, professional bodies and professionals respond to or promote change or not. We encourage papers that tackle these sorts of issues and, with this in mind, the conference is organized around three sub-streams: an open stream on theory, method, and critique; a stream on financial imaginaries/imagining finance; and a stream on sustainability/finance (see below for more details). The conference finale will comprise a semi-public and interdisciplinary panel in order to, we hope, create some interesting debates, and inspire new thoughts and create new possibilities of life.

Papers should be submitted to the allocated convenor for each sub-theme. We encourage and welcome passionate academic work in different stages and forms, but they all need to be developed enough so that the audience can be intellectually challenged and involved in discussions. The deadline for an extended abstract (about 1000 words) is 15th April 2012. A review panel will announce their decision of acceptance within two weeks from the deadline. Accepted papers should be submitted in their final form by 1 July 2012.

The conference is organised by Dr Ann-Christine Frandsen at Essex Business School, Essex University in collaboration with Dr Thomas Bay Stockholm University (Forslund and Bay, 2009). The venue will be at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus. The conference language will be English. Discussants will be appointed – introducing papers, chairing sessions, involving participants.

Open Stream: Theory, Method, and Critique

Convenors: Jason Glynos, Department of Government, University of Essex & Ann-Christine Frandsen, Accounting Group, Essex Business School,

We invite papers in finance studies that provoke critical engagement with current practices, open up pathways for effective political mobilization and socio-economic transformation, or sketch out possible counter-visions entailing alternative practices and forms of governance. The open stream is designed to catch contributions that tackle issues that fit the conference theme but do not necessarily fall neatly into one of the titled streams. For example: How might critical engagements with finance tell us something about the way markets are performed in other areas of economic life? What forms of subjectivity might different finance practices promote? How should we think the connections between finance and other sectors of the economy? What role should key concepts such as merit and remuneration, surplus labour, speculation, technology, and competition play in how we theorize and imagine finance?

The politics of financial reform draws on a range of characterizations, diagnoses, and prognoses of the recent financial crisis. Such ‘problematizations’ matter because they set in train path dependencies that invite us to problematize those problematizations themselves. Some, for example, seek to avoid heaping blame onto a few individual ‘bad apples’, one of the most trenchant narratives repeatedly and insistently articulated in the mass media. Some seek to avoid locating the fault with finance as such. Others argue that the financial crisis should be understood as a hubris-induced elite debacle rather than a systems accident or fiasco (Engelen et al 2011). The tension between explanatory and interpretive dimensions in these problematizations is never far from the surface, but what is clear is that the way finance is characterized, problematized, and contested has consequences for citizens and for policy makers, not least because of the sorts of futures they open up or close down. This raises issues about how different theoretical perspectives and methodological techniques shape the way we characterize, problematize, and contest financial practices and associated policy and media representations at elite and popular levels; or about how different sorts of critique emerge, relate, and interact with one another, for example, normative and ideological forms of critique.

We encourage the submission of papers that draw on poststructuralist, post-marxist, psychoanalytic, Deleuzian, Foucauldian, and other traditions, and that explore a range of theoretical, methodological, and critical issues linked to the analysis of finance. What forms of innovative, progressive, and sustainable banking and finance do such perspectives enable us to imagine? What role should experiment play in these efforts to conjure alternative visions? How should these experiments be financed? What innovative means of critique are available to citizens living in democratic polities with a tightly coupled nexus of elites in politics-finance-media? What role should music, film, television, social networking platforms, and other media play in facilitating both the process of critique and the conjuring of counter-visions of finance practice and governance?

Stream 2: Financial Imaginaries/Imagining Finance

Convenor: Christian de Cock, Management Group, Essex Business School

A key area of concern in this stream is the “imaginary of finance”, the semiotic system that gives meaning and shape to the economic field in which finance is embedded. Empirically we encourage the submission of papers that explore how, despite the convulsions of 2008 and their continuing reverberations, this imaginary has remained pretty much intact anno 2012 (in that we have witnessed over and over again the re-articulation of established themes and genres). Established financial imaginaries have no doubt proved extremely powerful in shaping the thoughts and perceptions of key political and economic decision makers and it would be interesting to learn more about the mechanics of this. Theoretically we encourage papers that can enrich and develop the notion of “imaginary” itself within a financial context. Examples could include Lacan’s (Real-Symbolic-Imaginary) or Iser’s (Real-Fictive-Imaginary) triad.  We also encourage the submission of papers that can offer new ways of imagining finance. Following Yusoff and Gabrys (2011), we see imagination as “a way of sensing, thinking, and dreaming the formation of knowledge, which creates the conditions for material interventions in and political sensibilities of the world”. What are the conditions of possibility to change dominant framings of the financial imagination? Can we re-imagine the organization of finance as an ethical, societal, and cultural problem? Can we open up a generative space of unknowing which can create the possibility to take us beyond the seemingly eternal dialectic of economic catastrophe and ‘business as usual’? These are just some of the questions you may help formulate answers to.

Stream 3: Sustainability / Finance

Convenor: Steffen Böhm, Management Group, Essex Business School and interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society, University of Essex,

Finance is arguably at the heart of what might be called the global capitalist economy, which is geared towards ever increasing growth of production and consumption. A whole host of critics and social movements have pointed to the unsustainable nature of this self-referential system, and particularly its negative environmental consequences. Specifically, financial service industries have been repeatedly accused of funding environmentally very damaging extractive industry projects (such an open pit mining, oil tar sands, etc), contributing to the creation of speculative bubbles of commodity markets (e.g. leading to higher basic food prices), and endangering the livelihood of indigenous and other communities (threatened by global industries invading their land, for example), to name but a few of the grievances that have been articulated. We are seeking contributions that map, evaluate and expand such critiques of finance and its problematic relation to sustainability.

On the other hand, however, finance increasingly likes to portray itself as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. The financial services industry has arguably made some efforts to positively contribute to issues such as climate change (e.g. through carbon disclosure), land grab and livelihoods in developing countries (e.g. through the Equator Principles) and environmental protection in more general terms (e.g. through the UN Global Compact). While some might accuse such initiatives as ‘hot air’ or even ‘greenwash’, which often lack real power and impact, there are more concrete efforts to offer sustainable finance solutions, ranging from microfinance to carbon offsetting, from community finance to payments for environmental services. What should we make of this move of finance ‘going green’ and ‘ethical’? What empirical evidence is there to suggest that such finance approaches to solving environmental and social issues are actually working?

Overall, then, we encourage submissions that problematize the relationship between sustainability and finance in its broadest sense. We are not only interested in critiques of current finance approaches to sustainability, but particularly encourage studies of how groups and communities can use money and finance in novel ways to live more sustainable lives. We are hence keen to explore the ways of how finance can make a contribution to another possible world.

For any general enquiry about the conference please contact Ann-Christine Frandsen. Any specific questions related to one of the streams each please contact relevant convenor

Organising committee: (Alphabetic order)
Professor Steffen Böhm
Professor Christian de Cock
Dr Ann-Christine Frandsen
Dr Jason Glynos
Dr Pik Liew
Dr Sumohon Matilal
Chloe Warren – Marketing Officer, EBS

Organiser: Ann-Christine Frandsen Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester Campus, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1206 87 869 809


To find out more about Essex Business School visit:

In Collaboration with

Thomas Bay, Stockholm University


D. Forslund and T. Bay, (2009). ‘The eve of critical finance studies’.  Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization. Vol. 9(4), pp. 285-299.

M. Foucault, (1981). ‘The Order of Discourse’ (Inaugural Lecture at the College de France, given 2 December, 1971). In R. Young (ed), Untying the Text: a Post-Structuralist Reader.  London: Methuen, 1981, pp. 48-78.

Dr Steffen Böhm | Professor in Management and Sustainability | Essex Business School | University of Essex | Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK | Rm 5NW.4.4 | Tel. +44(0)1206 87 3843 |


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Global Power



Call for Papers
Dates: 16-18 June 2010
Location: University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Call for Papers Deadline: 30 April 2010
All Inquiries to:

Keynote Speakers
ROMAND Coles is Professor of Community, Culture & Environment at Northern Arizona University.
DIANA Coole is Professor of Political & Social Theory at Birkbeck, University of London.
STEPHEN K. White is James Hart Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Other Confirmed Speakers Include:

JANE Bennett, The Johns Hopkins University (USA)
WILLIAM E. Connolly, The Johns Hopkins University (USA)
ERNESTO Laclau is Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex.
FRANCISO Panizza, London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

Organizing Committee at the University of Essex
JASON Glynos, Department of Government, University of Essex
DAVID Howarth, Centre for Theoretical Studies, University of Essex
ALETTA J. Norval, Centre for Theoretical Studies, University of Essex
JONATHAN Dean, Department of Government, University of Essex
KHAIRIL Ahmad, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex
GRAHAM Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex

Methodology Workshops Organizing Committee
GRAHAM Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex

The Conference Theme: Theory in the Face of Global Challenges: Capitalism & Ecology, Community & Citizenship

FEW doubt, today, that we face a series of connected global challenges: the dangers of climate change and environmental degradation; a crisis of international finance and global capitalism; an ever-increasing logic of minoritization, which threatens to fragment communities and societies; greater social and economic inequalities, both nationally and globally; the intensification of various forms of religious belief, including fundamentalism, alongside a growing secularization of communities and societies; and a palpable disillusionment with politics and politicians.

THEORISTS and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences also face new challenges: insistent demands to show the ‘relevance’ of their research for the ‘real world’; diminishing resources and institutional support; a growing marginalization from mainstream and corporately subsidized research. Universities and colleges are being compelled to show that their research has a ‘direct impact’ on the economy, public policy, or society in order to secure funding and research grants.

‘THEORY in the Face of Global Challenges: Capitalism & Ecology, Community & Citizenship’ takes up the challenge of rethinking different aspects of global capitalism, religion, the place of minorities, and the environment. It will also problematize and explore the role of theory in the academy and in relation to the pressing issues we confront.

HOW do we problematize and critically explain these new phenomena? What are the limits and potentials of contemporary political and ethical theory in addressing these new issues? What is the relationship between community, citizenship, and democracy? What kind of ethos needs to be cultivated in the face of these new challenges, and how can it be brought about? Must ecology be sacrificed on the altar of rebuilding the global capitalist system, or is an eco-egalitarian alternative possible? In what ways can various fundamentalisms be challenged and engaged with in the name of a democratic politics that is not itself fundamentalist in character? What is the relationship between cultural theory, radical materialism and various sorts of naturalism? What are the prospects and limits of pluralizing pluralism? Ought we to restrict agency to humans, or does it extend to the material and non-human world more generally? What is the relationship between nature and culture? How can cultural theory respond to recent developments in science? How do these broad sets of issues and questions get addressed in specific contexts and policy arenas? And what theoretical languages and methods are best able to respond to these changes and trends?

THESE are just some of the tasks of critical political theory today. Our invited speakers shall deliver keynote addresses to the conference that will shape the discussions with their distinctive voices and perspectives. Each of the speakers will address one or more of the themes announced in the title.

ROMAND Coles is Professor and Director of the Programme in Community, Culture & Environment at Northern Arizona University. He works at the intersections between radical democratic theory, continental philosophy, and grassroots democratic activism. During his two decades at Duke University he co-founded and co-directed an interdisciplinary project called Dialogical Ethics and Critical Cosmopolitanism, as well as The Third Reconstruction Institute, which cultivated collaborations between scholars and grassroots organizers across the South-Eastern United States. He currently directs the Programme for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University where he writes, teaches and organizes politically on issues pertaining to building grassroots democracy in schools, developing a green economy, crafting public spaces, immigration rights, urban agriculture, and the engaged pedagogy movement in higher education. His writings include: Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics; Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas; Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections Toward the Possibility of Democracy; and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations Between a Radical Democrat and a Christian. Romand’s address will explore possibilities for radical democratic transformation toward a green political economy, focusing on vital micro-relational dynamics among humans and the nonhuman that nurture revolutionary enthusiasms, hopeful visions of possibility, and networks of political power necessary for constructing alternatives to ecocidal global capitalism. His discussion will make connections between grassroots community organizing initiatives in which he is involved, theories of mimesis and mirror neurons, and broadening experiments in alternative political economy.

DIANA Coole is Professor of Political and Social Theory at Birkbeck, University of London. Her many books and articles include Women in Political Theory: From Ancient Misogyny to Contemporary Feminism, 2nd Edition (Hemel Hempstead, Harvester-Wheatsheaf & Colorado, Lynne Rienner, 1993); Negativity and Politics: Dionysus and Dialectics from Kant to Poststructuralism (London & New York, Routledge, 2000); Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007); Materialism and Subjectivity (Duke University Press, 2007). Her address will focus on the discursive and ethical framing of question the population question for developed countries. Her concerns thus engage the intersection between capitalism and the environment, whilst raising significant controversies about immigration, community and new forms of citizenship. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of modern political and social theory, and contemporary continental political philosophy, she will also explore the role of theory and theorists in addressing these issues and their policy implications.

STEPHEN K. White is James Hart Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. His books include The Recent Work of Jurgen Habermas (Cambridge University Press, 1988) and Political Theory and Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 1991); Edmund Burke: Modernity, Politics and Aesthetics (Sage, 1994). He has also edited volumes entitled Lifeworld and Politics: Between Modernity and Postmodernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 1989) and the Cambridge Companion to Habermas (Cambridge University Press, 1995). His contribution to the forthcoming conference arises from his most recent book – The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen – where he contends that the global challenges facing Western democracies require a systematic re-examination and re-articulation of the role of citizens and citizenship. His approach does not deny, in the name of tradition, the force of what is new, nor does he imagine that we can adequately confront change by simply rejecting the traditions of modern Western political thought. Instead, he offers an incisive interpretation of our late-modern ethical-political condition and explains how a distinctive “ethos” or spirit of citizenship might constitute part of an exemplary response. This ethos requires reworking basic figures of the modern political imagination, including our conception of the self, citizenship, and democratic politics.


THE TENTH CONFERENCE IN CRITICAL POLITICAL THEORY at the University of Essex provides a space to address and engage with these issues. The conference has achieved a renowned reputation for the quality of the papers presented and the large number of international participants. Previous guest speakers have included Bill Connolly, Michael Hardt, Wendy Brown, Judith Squires, Quentin Skinner, Joan Copjec, James Tully, Jane Bennett, Fred Dallmayr, Bonnie Honig, David Owen, David Campbell, Simon Critchley, Ernesto Laclau, and Chantal Mouffe, amongst others. This year the conference will be hosted by the IDAWorld, Centre for Theoretical Studies, and the Department of Government at the University of Essex.

THE conference provides an important opportunity to engage with the contemporary challenges and possibilities of social and political theory and to exchange views on ongoing research. We welcome papers from all scholars, including postdoctoral researchers, postgraduates and early career scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds in the field of social and political theory. But as is customary with the Essex conference, the themes are in part shaped by the thought and writings of our invited guests, and this year is no exception. We are delighted to host Professors Romand Coles, Diana Coole, Ernesto Laclau & Stephen White.

Broad Themes Include
* Rethinking Community and Citizenship
* Critical Political Economy
* Discourse & the Media
* Politics of Immanence and Transcendence
* Ecology and Capitalism
* Politics and Technology
* Latin American Politics
* Universalism and Particularism
* Democracy and Representation
* Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Globalization
* Identity Politics and Mobilization
* Subjectivity and Psychoanalysis
* Religion, Faith and Pluralism
* Discourse and Affect
* Fundamentalisms
* New Ecologies
* Philosophies of Nature
* Discourse, Governance & Public Policy
* Culture and Political Economy
* The Politics of Space, Time and Territoriality
* Reworking Identity/Difference

Proposals for Papers, Panels and Roundtables
The conference organizers welcome proposals for individual papers; full panels (with papers); and roundtables (focused on discussion of a common theme rather than the formal presentation of papers). Paper, panel, and roundtable proposals (short abstracts) should be sent to no later than 30th April, 2010. Inquiries may also be sent to that address. Decisions on proposals will be made on a rolling basis. Inquiries may also be sent to that address. Final papers will be posted on the conference website.
Methodology Workshops

Some of the sessions will be devoted to methodological workshops. The 90-minute workshop sessions feature specialists in different aspects of critical and poststructuralist political analysis. The workshop sessions take the form of a “master-class”, with senior researchers meeting a small number of early career researchers using a particular methodological strategy or technique. The focus will be on questions raised by researchers, and their research will be treated as case studies to generate and engage a set of methodological questions.
The workshops aim at creating a setting where early career researchers can benefit from interaction with experts in their field. The sessions will be facilitated by fellow early career researchers, and the discussants will be established and renowned names in the field of interpretative political analysis, such as Jason Glynos, David Howarth and Aletta Norval. The sessions are fully incorporated into the regular conference program, and the sessions are open to all conference participants.

In order to take part in a workshop session, early career researchers invited to present their work in one of these will be asked to introduce their research project in a 2-3 page summary, pointing to the particular difficulties or methodological questions that arise from their research that they would like to explore in the workshop. Please note it clearly in your inquiry if you wish to be considered for inclusion in a Methodology Workshop. The deadline for inquiries is 30 April 2010. For additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the chair of the Methodology Workshop Advisory Board ( marking your inquiry clearly for attention: Graham Walker.

Conference Fees*
Conference fees for Staff: £140
Conference fees for Early Career Researchers: £80
*Conference fees include coffee/tea, 3 lunch vouchers and the conference dinner (excluding wine) on Thursday night.
Note: Those not wishing to attend the conference dinner may subtract £30 from the conference fee.

Conference Site
The University of Essex is located in the ancient market town of Colchester and near the picturesque village of Wivenhoe in Northeast Essex. It is about 45 minutes from London by rail, 30 minutes from London’s Stansted Airport by cab or about an hour by bus. The conference programme will offer opportunities to enjoy the traditional villages and countryside in this scenic part of England. More information about accommodation, costs, and venue is available on the website.

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Politics and the Unconscious




Politics and the Unconscious


For a Special Issue of Subjectivity


Guest Editors

Jason Glynos (University of Essex, UK)

& Yannis Stavrakakis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)


The special issue aims to explore the unconscious dimension in politics, whether in the context of political practice or political theory. Of particular interest is the question of how to conceptualise the relationship between the unconscious and political subjectivity.


It is often remarked that in politics much of importance takes place below the radar. ‘Dog whistle politics’, ‘tacit knowledge’, ‘complicity’, and ‘surmise’ are just some of the terms used to capture such silent or unofficial processes which, however, are central to our understanding of official political practices.


The concept of the ‘unconscious’ registers this dimension of politics and there are many ways it can be understood, theorised, and operationalised for purposes of empirical analysis.


The special issue will include an extended interview with Professor Ernesto Laclau, whose aim is to probe the role that Lacanian psychoanalysis plays in his recent work in political theory. But we strongly encourage the submission of papers which explore the unconscious dimension of politics from alternative psychoanalytic perspectives, as well as social-psychological and other perspectives.



Possible themes include:


·         the unconscious and its relation to political subjectivity

·         the role the unconscious and cognate concepts can or should play in political theory and analysis

·         reflection on the historical and/or contemporary use of psychoanalysis in the study of politics

·         the unconscious in critical social and political psychology

·         the role of stereotypes in relation to the unconscious

·         ideological critique

·         hegemony and post-hegemony

·         theories of freedom and emancipation

·         theories of justice and principles of distribution

·         the political economy

·         processes of policy formulation and implementation

·         economic policy, wealth, and happiness

·         utopian thought

·         theories of democracy and post-democracy

·         the politics of consumption

·         general methodological and epistemological issues concerning the use of the unconscious (or cognate terms) to political studies, e.g., what can or should qualify as evidence of the unconscious in social and political life

·         the unconscious at the intersection of media and politics

·         the tenability and significance of drawing a distinction between the individual and collective unconscious

·         different perspectives on the unconscious and their comparative/contrastive significance for understanding political processes

·         the differential implications for political theory and analysis of subscribing to different psychoanalytic frameworks

·         the character and modalities of political discourse

·         discourse and affect in processes of identification

·         fantasy and political subjectivity

·         the political constitution of groups and institutions

·         social and political identification in organizations


We encourage papers which explore any of these or other politically-inflected themes from the point of view of the unconscious or related concepts. Theoretically-informed empirical studies are particularly welcome.


Send expressions of interest with short proposal for possible contributions to by 16 March 2009. Once a proposal is accepted authors will be asked to submit full papers by 20 July 2009. Full papers will then go through the standard peer-review process. Author guidelines can be found at:


The call for papers can also be found at:

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