Neoliberalization, financialization and economic citizenship workshop

Neoliberalization, financialization and economic citizenship: one-day workshop

10th October 2007, University of Nottingham

Organized by the School of Geography’s New Economic Geographies Research Theme, this one-day workshop addressed the relationship between processes of neoliberalization, financialization and economic citizenship. The motivation for the workshop was to discuss the implications of the remaking of the contract between individuals and the state in many Euro-American countries, with personal responsibility and markets increasingly becoming the default mode for processes such as welfare provision, short-term income smoothing and long-term financial security. At the same time, there have been increases in economic polarisation, raising concerns about social and financial exclusion. Various concepts have been deployed to help explain such a transformation. This workshop focused upon neo-liberalization and financialization, concepts which share many potential points of contact but which hitherto have tended to run in parallel to one another. Studies of neo-liberalization have proved effective in disciplines such as economic geography where it has informed analyses of welfare reform, the reorganization of labour markets, local government, nature-society relations, etc. Financialisation, which focuses on the growing power and systemic influence of money and finance within contemporary life, has become increasingly significant in fields such as economic sociology and critical management studies. The workshop provided an opportunity to explore the relationship between processes of neoliberalization and financialization, with speakers working in both traditions, and explored the consequences of both for economic citizenship, a contested concept which denotes the ability of individuals and households to participate fully in the economy and produce economic security.

The day was characterised by a series of rich presentations and some fascinating and informative debate.

The workshop’s programme was as follows:

Session 1. Chair: Sarah Hall (University of Nottingham)

Jamie Peck (University of Wisconsin-Madison): ‘Finding the Chicago School’

Shaun French, Andrew Leyshon and Thomas Wainwright (University of Nottingham): ‘Financializing space’

Session 2. Chair: Shaun French (University of Nottingham)

Wendy Larner (University of Bristol): ‘Situating neoliberalism’

Sue Smith (University of Durham): ‘Home ownership: managing a risky business?’

Session 3. Chair: Andrew Leyshon (University of Nottingham)

Paul Langley (University of Northumberland): ‘Neo-liberal financialised subjects’

Adam Swain (University of Nottingham): ‘Neo-liberalizing post-soviet space’

Discussant: Noel Castree (University of Manchester).

The other participants in the workshop were:

Jon Beaverstock (University of Nottingham), Angus Cameron (University of Leicester), James Corah (University of Nottingham), Louise Crewe (University of Nottingham), Gwamaka Kifukwe (University of Nottingham), Karen Lai (University of Nottingham), Roger Lee (Queen Mary University of London), Yajing Li (Queen Mary University of London), Steve Musson (University of Reading), Jane Pollard (Newcastle University), Alison Stenning (Newcastle University), Kendra Strauss (University of Oxford), Adam Swain (University of Nottingham), Thomas Wainwright (University of Nottingham) and Kevin Ward (University of Manchester).

Many thanks to all speakers and participants for contributing to a successful and rewarding day, and to Karen Lai for her invaluable organizational skills!

Andrew Leyshon