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UPDATED Call for papers: ASE/ASSA 2018 meetings, "Democratic Crisis and the Responsibility of Economics"



Allied Social Science Association Annual Meeting
Philadelphia, PA: January 5-7 (Friday to Sunday), 2018 

THEME: “Democratic Crisis and the Responsibility of Economics”


Recent eruptions of populist reaction and aggressive nationalism in Europe, the US, and beyond have unsettled economists and other social scientists on the left, right, and in the political center. Many now worry about the continued viability of democratic ideals in what they view as a moment of “unreason,” and about their role in unfolding events. Not least, both the Brexit vote and the subsequent election of President Trump can be read in part as rejections of the authority and privileges of experts who advise democratic governments in pursuit of economic wellbeing and other valued goals. For the ASE sessions at the 2017 ASSA meetings, we welcome proposals for papers/sessions on all aspects of social economics, but preference will be given to papers related to the contemporary democratic crisis, and the responsibility of the economics profession—both its culpability (if any) in the crisis, and its obligations and duties in the new political conjuncture. Possible questions include but are not limited to:

-- What are the connections between predominant economic prescriptions and economists’ practice over the past two decades or so and unfolding political events? In what ways did the profession contribute to economic and political conditions under which political reaction and nationalism could flourish? Is inequality or “globalization” partly to blame, for instance, and if so, to what degree is the economics profession at fault for long emphasizing “efficiency” and growth over equitable distribution of income, wealth, or capabilities? 

-- What lessons for the economics profession are there in the new movements? What do they tell us about the centrality of political and economic inclusion/exclusion for the viability of the democratic ideals of mutual regard, tolerance, equality, and civic duties?

-- How should social and other economists respond to the rejection of expertise that marks these new political movements? To what degree and how should the economics profession evolve in light of these events—in the ends to which economists commit themselves, the means they employ to achieve good economic outcomes, and their positioning (as detached experts) vis-à-vis the communities they purport to serve?

-- To what degree does the new populism represent the renewed salience of “class” alongside or as opposed to “identity” politics? How might the return to class in politics affect ongoing campaigns for the rights and interests of racial and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ communities, and other groups that are demanding equal economic, political, and social opportunities? In short, does the return to class represent new opportunities, or new perils?

-- What opportunities arise in the current conjuncture for economists to press the case for economic justice, genuine respect and equality, tolerance, and other valued goods? Or is opposition to entrenchment the best that can be hoped for?

Proposals for papers as well as complete sessions are welcome.

The submission deadline is May 1, 2017.  The online form can be found here.

Individuals whose papers are accepted for presentation must either be or become members of the Association for Social Economics by July 1, 2017 in order for the paper to be included in the program.  Membership information can be found at www.socialeconomics.org. All papers presented at the ASSA meetings are eligible for the Warren Samuels Prize, awarded to the best paper that advances the goals of social economics and has widespread appeal. Papers can also be considered for a special issue of one of the association’s journals, or for edited volumes.

NB: Due to limited session slots, we cannot accept all submissions. Any paper that cannot be incorporated into the ASE program will be automatically considered for the ASE portion of the ICAPE conference, which will be held at Drexel University in downtown Philadelphia the day before the ASSA meetings (January 4, 2018). Drexel is a short cab or subway ride from the conference hotels. See icape.org for details.

Please email George DeMartino at George.DeMartino@du.edu with any questions.


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