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Tag Archives: Rick Saull

Global Capitalism

DAVID McNALLY TALKS ON THE GLOBAL SLUMP

Dear Colleague,

Queen Mary’s Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development will be hosting Professor David McNally (York University, Toronto – http://davidmcnally.org/) who will be giving a talk entitled, ‘Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance’

12-2pm, on Monday November 14, 2011 in Geography 1.26, QueenMaryCollege, Universityof London, Mile End Campus

Professor McNally is a leading Marxist authority on the international economy and socialist politics and we are delighted that he will be giving a talk to the Centre.

Rick Saull,
Director
Queen Mary, Centre for the Study of Global Security & Development
http://www.cgsd.org.uk/

 

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Capitalism

UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Dear Colleague,

I am pleased to announce that Queen Mary’s Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development will be hosting a symposium on ‘Uneven and Combined Development and Contemporary World Politics’ on Wednesday, Februaury 9, 2011 between 2-6pm.

The programme is below. If you wish to attend please contact Rick Saull – r.g.saull@qmul.ac.uk – in advance of the symposium.

Regards,
Rick Saull
Director, Queen Mary, Centre for the Study of Global Security and
Development

Symposium on UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Wednesday, February 9, 2-6pm (room Arts G.02), Queen Mary, Mile End Campus, London, E1 4NS

Programme/Presenters

Session 1, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Alex Anievas (Cambridge)
‘Origins and Extensions of Uneven and Combined Development in the History and Theory of International Relations: The Case of the First World War’ This paper aims to contribute to recent debates on ‘international historical sociology’ specifically regarding the potential utility of Leon Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) in advancing a theory of modern inter-state conflict. The paper first re-examines recent debates over the theoretical status of U&CD considering, in particular, the various socio-historical and spatial registers covered by the idea as deployed by the different positions within the debates. Considering the possible benefits and pitfalls of stretching the concept to a generalized theory of ‘the international’ throughout history, the paper argues that a central challenge remains. This regards the development of a sufficiently historically-differentiated conception of ‘unevenness’ and ‘combination’-one capable of theorizing the radical historical disjuncture represented by the international relations of capitalist modernity while nonetheless capturing aspects of inter-societal relations common to all historical epochs and thus forming a crucial causal element in the transition to capitalism itself. Developing such a perspective, a theory of U&CD could take up John Hobson’s (and others) charges of ‘Euro-centricism’ with a more historically-sensitive interpretation of the internationally-pressurized multiple paths to capitalist modernity and their crucial ‘feed-back’ effects in restructuring processes of inter-state competition. Drawing on and further contributing to the theory, the second half of the paper sketches an alternative approach to the causes of the First World War distinctively combining ‘geopolitical’ and ‘sociological’ modes of explanations into a single framework. This highlights how the necessarily variegated character of interactive socio-historical development explains the inter-state rivalries leading to war. Contextualizing the sources of conflict within the broad developmental tendencies of the Long Nineteenth century (1789-1914) and their particular articulation during the immediate pre-war juncture, the paper aims further develop the theory of U&CD in and through the rich empirical terrain of the pre-war period thereby providing a much needed empirical contribution to recent debates.

Ben Selwyn (Sussex)
‘Trotsky, Gerschenkron and the Political Economy of Late Capitalist Development’
The study of late capitalist development is often characterised as a battle between protagonists of market-led vs state-led development. For the latter position, Alexander Gerschenkron looms large, as one of the most significant theorists of state-led development under conditions of relative backwardness. There are striking similarities between Gerschenkron’s explication of the advantages of backwardness and Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development and the privilege of backwardness. (These similarities have been commented upon often but rarely subject to closer comparison): Indeed, both men share a common problematic – the comprehension of how economically backward countries could skip stages of development in order to join the ranks of economically advanced countries. This paper compares their conception of this problematic and illustrates how in a number of areas the two are complementary. These are: Their rejection of unilinear patterns of capitalist development, their appreciation of the role of states and institutions in facilitating late development, and their understanding of development as a disruptive social process.  However, in crucial areas the two diverge. These are: Their comprehension of international economic and political relations, the role and position of labour in late development, and ultimately, the potential for late capitalist development to unleash social upheavals and further, non-capitalist transformations. Overall, I suggest how Trotsky and Gerschenkron’s approaches can complement each other, but that ultimately they represent fundamentally opposed approaches to human development.

Coffee Break, 3.30pm – 4.00pm

Session Two, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Mick Dunford (Sussex)
‘Combined and Uneven Development: A Geographical Perspective’

John Hobson (Sheffield)
‘What’s at Stake in the Neo-Trotskyist Debate? Towards a Non-Eurocentric Historical Sociology of Uneven and Combined Development’
This piece seeks to advance what is being termed ‘third wave historical sociology of IR’ (HSIR). In particular I consider how a third-wave ‘non-Eurocentric’ HSIR could be developed by entering into the extant internecine debate that is raging within the newly emergent neo-Trotskyist school of HSIR. At one extreme lies Justin Rosenberg who argues that the concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) should be historically generalised while the majority position insists that U&CD is specific only to the modern capitalist era (e.g., Ashman, Davidson, Allinson and Anievas). Here I provide some support for the Rosenberg position, by arguing that failure to historically generalise the concept beyond modern capitalism leads into the cul-de-sac of Eurocentrism. As a counter, I spend the majority of the piece sketching the outlines of a non-Eurocentric theory of U&CD by considering the ‘rise of the West’ as a case of a late-developing civilization; and in the process sketching the basis for an adequate third-wave non-Eurocentric HSIR.

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