Marx Now 2018: Arenas of Struggle
University of Southern Denmark
September 7 -8 2018
They say that when you repeat something three time in a row it becomes a tradition. It is thus with great pride that the Danish Society for Marxist Studies (SMS) invite you to the establishment of a new tradition in Danish academia: the society’s annual conference, Marx Now!
SMS invites researchers, students, and other interested parties to present research directly related to or otherwise inspired by Marx, Marxism and/or the critical impulse that has issued from this tradition over the past 200 years at Marx Now! 2018.
The overall theme of this year’s conference is Arenas of struggle understood in the broadest possible sense of the term. Traditionally, Marxism’s theoretical arenas of struggle have been political economy and critical philosophy while the practical arenas of struggle of the workers’ movement have been the economic and political class struggle. But in the 21st century, the situation appears more complex; these central arenas of struggle (may) have lost their centrality and other arenas appear to have supplanted them. We invite explorations of this phenomenon. Examples might include:
- Logistics. As capital has engulfed the entire planet, the global south has been subjected to its rule, and insofar as the post-fordist organisational model has internationalized production and distribution, logistics has become an increasingly central phenomenon: from the most basic forms of commodity transport such as freight ships, highways, and freight trains to the satellites and subterranean cables that constitute the physical foundation of the internet. What is the significance of logistics for capitalism today? How does resistance to capital manifest itself on the logistical front?
- Urban spaces. Capitalism has always been inextricably tied to urbanization and the concentration of labour in cities, but more recently, cities have increasingly become centres of social movements and countercultures that attempt to subvert the spatial preconditions of capital and transform them into spaces of contestation. The struggle over urban spaces has become a struggle against capital. How do these struggles unfold practically? And is it possible to think urban spaces beyond or outside of the power of capital and the market? If the era of the bourgeois nation states is over, can the city become the site of a new form of resistance?
- Intersections. Questions of gender, sexuality, and other social categories have long had an important role in left-wing and Marxist social movements and struggles, but in recent years these question have been revisited in relation to discussions of ‘identity politics.’ The questions of the intersections between these categories and their reproduction have become increasingly central and have challenged previous conceptions of class, production, and reproduction. But what are the relations between oppression based on sexuality, skin-colour, gender, class, religion, functional variations of bodies, etc.? And what perspectives can Marxism and critical thought contribute to these questions?
- Imperialism, globalization and the national question. With capital’s internationalization, the last 15 years of constant war and conflict in the Middle East and the on-going so-called ‘migration crisis’, the question of imperialism and related questions of globalization and the nation state are back on the agenda. How are we to understand these phenomena? Is the nation state a passing political formation? Is its dissolution an answer to capital’s internationalisation or a part of it? And what can the Marxist canon contribute with regard to the issue of imperialism and the national question?
This is not an exhaustive list, but a few examples of what might be topics in our discussion of contemporary arenas of struggle. We hope that this theme can serve as a heuristic device or a way to develop new perspectives on on-going research. Like in previous years, there is also room for for presentations that do not directly relate to the theme. We invite presentations on any and all topics related to Marx, Marxism, critical research and related topics.
Send your abstract of 200-300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 1 2018. Abstracts and presentation can be in Danish or English.
The Danish Society for Marxist Studies (SMS) is a scientific organisation dedicated to promoting research in and inspired by Marx and the entire tradition of thought, which springs from his theories. “Marxist” should thus be understood in the broadest possible sense. SMS does not adhere to any particular theoretical or political position. The society holds an annual conference and aims to transcend the narrow disciplinary boundaries of academia, which never could contain Marxism.