Public Programs And Events

Politics Talk: Albena Azmanova

Politics Talk: Albena Azmanova

Leadership Conference Room
General Public 

The Politics Department at The New School for Social Research presents Albena Azmanova, professor of Social and Political Thought in the Department of International Political Economy at The University of Kent, Brussels who will deliver a talk entitled: "The 'Crisis of Capitalism' and the State- More Powerful, Less Responsible, Invariably Legitimate."

Where is the coveted, prophesied, dreaded crisis of capitalism? Why has the economic turmoil that has recently afflicted the U.S. and Europe met with so little social protest, with such faint attempts to replace the apperently moribund socio-economic model? The alleged crisis of capitalism, Albena Azmanova claims, has been but a catalyst in the metamorphosis of neoliberal capitalism – a transmutation that began well before the crisis and in many ways provoked it. This has led to the emergence of a fourth historical modality of capitalism she calls ‘aggregative capitalism’ (after the entrepreneurial nineteenth-century capitalism, the ‘organized’ capitalism of the post-WWII welfare state, and the neoliberal, ‘disorganized’ capitalism of the late twentieth century). A key feature of the new modality is the renewal of the state’s redistributive function, with an altered logic of distribution, and a simultaneous increase in the state’s administrative power and a decrease in its authority – a process that has failed to trigger a legitimacy crisis of the socio-political system, despite the recent confluence of financial, economic, and social crises. And no wonder society accepts the pain with equanimity, Professor Azmanova will argue, as the very social contract in Western democracies has been recast, thus breathing new life into capitalism.

Albena Azmanova holds a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research and prior to her current appointment has taught at Sciences Po – Paris and the New School. Her writing is dedicated to the re-engagement of critical social theory with critique of political economy.  Her most recent book – The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment (Columbia University Press, 2012) affects a pragmatic turn within theories of deliberative democracy by offering an account of public deliberations as communicative enacting of structurally generated social conflicts.  She is spending Spring 2014 on sabbatical leave at Harvard University where she is working on a book manuscript titled Rethinking the Success of the West --an inquiry into the way the sequential institutionalization, since the 17th century, of socially responsible, accountable, and responsive (democratic) rule has resulted in a highly resilient socio-political order that thrives not despite, but through its crises.

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