June Workshop: The Political Economy of Nations, States, and Power in Europe and beyond

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This event happened in June 2016


The referendum debate has thrown up key issues of state, nation and the economy. Few discussions on the critical issues facing the people of Scotland and the UK far less Europe, and other developed and developing countries in the world economy can proceed far before the issues of power and the state emerge. But what is the state and what is its relationship to other centres of power, regional blocs such as the EU and to the issues of money, finance and capital accumulation? How did the state and the system of nation states emerge, and how are we to understand the role of the state in contemporary capitalism?

Much globalization discourse questioned whether the individual national (territorial) state would survive tendencies for the internationalization of production and exchange and the emergence of regional trading agreements. The financial crisis that began in 2007, however, showed how central the state is to capitalism through the many rescue packages of endangered banks and other financial institutions by central banks, states or international financial bodies dominated by major states.

With economic recovery following the crash of 2007 at best weak and against the backcloth of the referendum result, this workshop addresses the key economic issues of today with a focus on the critical role played by the state. After critically reviewing the implications of the referendum outcome, speakers will examine in detail alternative perspectives on power and the state and the history and trajectory of the system of nation states from a political economy framework.

The workshop will be of particular interest to political activists, final and post graduate students and academic staff from a wide range of disciplines

Schedule for the event


Local speakers from politics/IR/sociology/business school to be confirmed.

Ngai-Ling Sum Ngai-Ling Sum: Is Reader in Cultural Political Economy at the Department: Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. Her interests centre on the regulation approach in political economy, international political economy, and the challenges of post-structuralism. She has a particular interest in developing a ‘cultural political economy’ that combines the ‘cultural turn’ and the study of ‘political economy’ considered both as a set of methods and as a field of study. Together with Bob Jessop she is a co-director of the Cultural Political Economy Research Centre with whom she also co-authored the much acclaimed book, Towards a cultural political economy: putting culture in its place in political economy. More recently, Ngai-ling has been working on global governance, transnational business governance, corporate social responsibility and the cultural political economy of competitiveness.
Bob Jessop Bob Jessop: Has published extensively on state theory, the financial crisis and political economy. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Lancaster. Bob is co-director of the Cultural Political Economy Research Centre and co-author with Ngai-Ling Sum of Towards a cultural political economy: putting culture in its place in political economy. His new book, The State: Past, Present, Future was published in 2015 and he has co-edited a recent book on the cultural political economy of the financial crisis: Financial Cultures and Crisis Dynamics (Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy).
Neil Davidson Neil Davidson: Worked as a state manager for the Scottish Government and its predecessors for over twenty years, but now lectures in sociology with the School of Political and Social Science at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of The Origins of Scottish Nationhood (2000), Discovering the Scottish Revolution (2003), for which he was awarded the Deutscher Prize, How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions? (2012). Holding Fast to an Image of the Past (2014), We Cannot Escape History (2015) and Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition (2016).
Goerge Kerevan Goerge Kerevan: Is a Scottish journalist, economist and Scottish National Party (SNP) politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Lothian since May 2015 and is a member of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee. George was Associate Editor of The Scotsman newspaper for nine years and now writes a weekly column for The National. Goerge Studied political economy at Glasgow University. For 25 years he lectured on economics at Edinburgh’s Napier University, where he specialised in energy and the Scottish economy. During the referendum campaign he co-authored a book with Alan Cochrane, Scottish editor of the Daily Telegraph, in which he put the case for independence, with Cochrane arguing for the Union.
user_avatar Brian Parkin: Originally a design engineer, he became an energy economist before joining the National Union of Mineworkers as a Research Officer in 1987. This position involved the detailed analysis of energy privatisations and the economics of nuclear power and resulted in appearances before Commons Select committees as well as EU Energy Directorate consultations.
Dr Parkin is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and he is presently engaged in the initial stages of radical energy, environmental and diversification strategies in Scotland.

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