Prof Mark HarveyDirector of Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation, University of Essex, UK
Date & Time
November 24, 2011 10:00
A107, Sciences and Engineering Building I
Although much attention has been paid to Polanyi’s concepts of ‘double movement’, embedding and disembedding, I will develop an argument that his concept of ‘instituted economic process’ (IEP) offers the possibility of a far more radical contribution to the renewal of historical materialism. The presentation will develop the IEP approach, critically reflecting on Polanyi’s contribution. In particular, it will draw attention to the limits of Polanyi’s focus on circulation and appropriation, and propose extending his approach to embrace production and consumption, including innovation in all spheres. The idea of the instituting of configurations of economic processes, as historical and spatially varied phenomena, provides a distinctive understanding of the economy and its place in society. This Polanyian approach is developed in critical reflection on classical political economy, and the conceptual frameworks of the economy developed especially by Marx. By way of illustration, the paper will take water as a ‘good’, and point to major historical configurational transformations. Public provision or private market commodity? Neither: water is economically organised unlike any other ‘good’ and requires a different kind of politico-economic analysis.