The framework of ‘capital as power’ offers a radical alternative to both liberal and Marxist political economies. In this framework, capital is viewed not as a productive economic entity, but as the central power institution of capitalist society at large, while capitalism as a whole is seen not as mode of production and consumption, but as a mode of power.
The purpose of RECASP is to critically theorize, historicize and empirically research capital as power and capitalism as a conflictual mode of power. The area of inquiry is wide open, and we welcome big-picture contributions as well more focused research. Broader studies may seek to address questions such as the following:
- How does power bear on accumulation, and how does it get capitalized?
- What are the historical roots of capital as power, and how do these roots alter the way we understand the origins of capitalism?
- What are the ideological and theoretical underpinnings of the capitalist mode of power?
- How has capitalization evolved and mutated?
- What are the qualitative forms of power in capitalism, and how do they compare to those that characterized earlier modes of power?
- How does capitalism convert qualities into quantities?
- What are the limits of capitalized power?
- How is capitalized power resisted and opposed, and can it be reformed or overthrown?
- Can these questions be addressed by mainstream and heterodox theories of capitalism – and if so, how do their answers differ from those offered by the theory of capital as power?
We are also interested in concrete areas of inquiry related to these broader questions. Suggested topics include:
- Finance as the capitalist architecture of power
- War and accumulation – the capitalization of systemic violence
- Capitalist power and labour – from proletarianization and wages to productivity and organization
- The techniques of capitalist power, the power of capitalist techniques
- International and regional conflicts and the capitalization of power
- Capitalist and democratic accounting, including the history of discounting and its possible alternatives
- Power and price formation – from local to global markets
- The psychology of capitalist power
- The state as a locus of capitalization – from taxes and the law to ideology and violence
- Crises of capitalist power
- Capitalized power and nature – from genetic engineering, to energy, to the biosphere
- Comparative modes of power: ancient and feudal, communist and fascist, capitalist and beyond
- Capital as power versus ‘primitive accumulation’ – dispossession, co-option and genocide
- The power dimensions of ‘immaterial’ capitalism – from leisure and fear to knowledge and ideology
- Alternative visions for a de-capitalized society
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