Great academic opportunities: 12 calls for papers, 11 jobs, 2 workshops, 2 prizes, a research grant

Dear ES/PE community member, see below an abundant list of great and interesting academic opportunities: call for papers12 calls for papers for conferences and workshops (partially funded), 11 job openings, 2 training workshops, 2 prizes, and a research grant — in various areas of economic sociology and political economy, with September 30 – October 25 deadlines. Share this post with your colleagues and students. Good luck!

Calls for papers:

> CfP: “Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities“, The XIX International Sociological Association Congress of Sociology, Toronto (Canada), July 15-21, 2018. RC02 on Economy and Society runs various sessions in economic sociology and political economy such as “Interpreting and questioning finance as social relationships”, “Price, Value & Worth”, and many more; RC16 Sociological Theory runs, among others, a session on “Theorizing and Historicizng Economic Culture; RC48 Social Movements runs, among others, a session “Can Anti-Globalization, “New” and “Old” Social Movements Work Together?RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development and RC30 Sociology of Work also organize relevant sessions. Various travel grants available. DL: September 30

> CfP: “Organizing for Resilience: Scholarship in Unsettled Times“, The Latin American and European Organization Studies conference, IAE Business School, Buenos Aires (Argentina), March 22-24, 2018. The conference has several specific CfPs for sessions related to economic sociology and political economy. DL: September 30

> CfP: “Capitalist Transitions, Empire Building, and American History“, Journal of Historical Sociology special issue. DL for proposals: October 1

Call for Mini-Conference Themes Proposals, The SASE annual meeting “Global Reordering: Prospects for Equality, Democracy and Justice”, Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan), 23-25 June 2018. DL: October 2

> CfP: “The Financial Life of Social Reproduction” session and several other sessions related to economic sociology and political economy at The American Association of Geographers meeting, New Orleans, April 10-14, 2018. DL: October 6.

> CfP: “The Crisis of Globalisation“, the 21st Forum for Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies conference, Best-Western Hotel International, Berlin (Germany), 9-11 November, 2017. There will be lectures for graduate students prior to the opening panel, on topics in heterodox economics. DL: October 15

CfP “The Economic History of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development” workshop at Lund University (Sweden), January 15-16, 2018. There is no participation fee. Accommodation and meals will be covered. DL: October 15

> CfP: “Water and Economy“, The Society of Economic Anthropology Annual Conference, Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona, USA), March 1-3, 2018. DL: October 15

> CfP: “Economics and Public Reason” workshop (at the University of Lausanne, May 2018) and Œconomia – History, Methodology, Philosophy special issue. DL for the expression of interest: October 25. 

Jobs and Positions:

Chair in “Political Economy and Historical Dynamics of Modern Capitalism” (up to 5 years) at Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy). DL: September 30

Assistant Professor of Sociology (tenure-track) with expertise in social theory and economic sociology, Providence College (Providence, RI, USA). DL: September 30

Head (associate professorship) of a new Research Group on social inequality research from a sociological perspective with a strong quantitative profile, The WZB Berlin Social Science Center. DL: September 30 

> Postdoc two-year position within the project “Ethical issues in agricultural land markets” at The Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies in Halle (Germany). DL: September 30

> Assistant Professor of Sociology (tenure-track) with primary interests in economic sociology, work and/or labor markets, Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas, USA). DL: October 1

Lecturer in Accounting (full-time), School of Business, University of Leicester (UK). Research in the Division combines accounting with economic sociology, sociology of valuation, organisational theory, and more. DL: October 3

Assistant Professor in Social Inequality and Human Services (Full-time, tenure-track), The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA, USA). DL: October 4

Lecturer in Employment Relations (full-time, permanent), University of Sheffield – Sheffield University Management School (UK). DL: October 5

Lecturer in Economic and Social History (permanent position), University of Helsinki (Finland). DL: October 8 

Social Stratification and Inequality Scholar (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor), Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder. DL: October 15 

> Professor in Regulation and Global Governance, School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University (Canberra).  DL: October 15

Calls for Applications

> CfA: “Working with European Union Labour Force Survey“, GESIS-Workshop for post-graduate and senior researchers, Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences (Mannheim, Germany), November 27-29, 2017. There will be no workshop fee. DL: September 30

> CfA: “Realising the Future“, A workshop on the politics, methodologies & technologies of economic prediction & expectation, Political Economy Research Centre, Goldsmiths University of London, 20 December, 2017. Speakers: Jens Beckert, Liliana Doganova, Fabian Muniesa, Nick Taylor. Attendance is free.


>  First Monograph Prize in Economic and/or Social History by The Economic History Society. DL: September 30 

> Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize by the Foundation for European Economic Development. Eligible essays for the prize must be critical discussions of any aspect of modern economics. DL: October 1

Research grant:

>  Research grants for projects on labour market policies, The Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (Uppsala, Sweden). Applications from non-economists are welcome. DL: October 1

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The Washington Consensus: Sociology of Economics and History of Ideas

In 1989, John Williamson, a fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC which previously advised the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, presented a background paper to a conference aimed to explore how extensive were the policy reforms that were then ongoing in Latin America. To try and ensure that the papers addressed a common set of issues, Williamson listed what seemed to him to be the central areas of reform that most Washington-based policy agencies and institutions at the time thought were needed for Latin American countries recovering from the economic and financial crises of the 1980s. Williamson labeled this list — “The Washington Consensus“. In the final paper published a year later, he elaborated this list into ten policy actions. 

1. Budget deficits … should be small enough to be financed without recourse to the inflation tax.
2. Public expenditure should be redirected from politically sensitive areas that receive more resources than their economic return can justify… toward neglected fields with high economic returns and the potential to improve income distribution, such as primary education and health, and infrastructure.

3. Tax reform… so as to broaden the tax base and cut marginal tax rates.
4. Financial liberalization, involving an ultimate objective of market-determined interest rates.
5. A unified exchange rate at a level sufficiently competitive to induce a rapid growth in nontraditional exports.
6. Quantitative trade restrictions to be rapidly replaced by tariffs, which would be progressively reduced until a uniform low rate of 10 to 20 percent was achieved.
7. Abolition of barriers impeding the entry of FDI (foreign direct investment).
8. Privatization of state enterprises.
9. Abolition of regulations that impede the entry of new firms or restrict competition.
10. The provision of secure property rights, especially to the informal sector.” (Williamson 2004: 196).

In the course of the years since that 1989 conference at the authoritative think tank, the phrase “Washington Consensus” has widely come to be used to describe a set of policy prescriptions promoting and implementing market fundamentalism.
In 2004, perhaps genuinely or perhaps ostensibly dissatisfied with the meanings that have been associated with the term he coined, Williamson published in Journal of Post Keynesian Economics “The Strange History of the Washington Consensus” (an open-access file below) to explain why, as he put this, “alternative versions of the Washington consensus” emerged. international monetary fund neoliberalism globalizationSpecifically, Williamson referred to the usage of the concept as the policy approach imposed by the IMF and the World Bank on their client countries and the widely perceived narrative attributed to “The Washington Consensus” as the creed and the toolkit of Neoliberalism. The latter, resents Williamson (2004: 201), is “a thoroughly objectionable perversion of the original meaning. Whatever else the term “Washington Consensus” may mean, it should surely refer to a set of policies that command a consensus in some significant part of Washington, either the U.S. government or the international financial institutions (IFIs) or both, or perhaps both plus some other group. Even in the early years of the Reagan administration, or during the administration of George W. Bush, it would be difficult to contend that most of the distinctively neoliberal policies, such as supply-side economics, monetarism, or minimal government, commanded much of a consensus, certainly not in the IFIs“. Evidently, as it appears in one of the footnotes, Williamson was unsatisfied by Joseph Stiglitz’s book Globalization and Its Discontents (2002) that greatly contributed to the dissemination of the term with these particular interpretations.
On the other hand, Williamson had “some sympathy” with the criticism laid by Dani Rodrick in “Growth Strategies (2003) regarding the pretended universality and insensitivity of the recommended reforms to local context. “The problem with the Washington Consensus was that it listed what became regarded as “ten commandments,” with an implicit promise that a country that did these ten things would grow“, noted Williamson (2004: 205).
Elsewhere I wrote that sociology of economics is about “the social and political processes, mechanisms and conditions of formation, articulation and diffusion of economic ideas, models and theories. In this respect academic, practical and administrative configurations of economic knowledge are always embodied in particular economies, epistemic cultures and institutions”. Williamson’s “The Washington Consensus” initial agenda, the life cycle and the global spread of this term and its meanings during the last three decades, and Williamson’s 2004 paper itself in which he tried to retrospectively reposition himself — are an interesting and rich example of sociology of economics. This story, especially after the 2007-8 global financial crisis which is certainly the result of Neoliberalism, clearly demonstrates the great influence of economic ideas, such as “The Washington Consensus”, in (inter)national economic policymaking, especially when deployed by the coalition of powerful actors and institutions.

– Williamson, John. 1990. “What Washington Means by Policy Reform” Chapter 2 in Latin American Adjustment: How Much Has Happened?, edited by John Williamson. Washington, DC:  Peterson Institute for International Economics. (open access)
– Williamson, John. 2004. “The Strange History of the Washington Consensus.” Journal of Post Keynesian Economics 27 (2): 195-206. 

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What is’t to us if taxes rise or fall? Thanks to our fortune, we pay none at all

Charles Churchill

Charles Churchill

The 18th-century English poet and satirist Charles Churchill wrote the following witty and sharp words, jeering and criticizing the aristocracy and the establishment of his time.

The cit, a common-councilman by place,
Ten thousand mighty nothings in his face,
By situation as by nature great,
With nice precision parcels out the state;
Proves and disproves, affirms and then denies,
Objects himself, and to himself replies;
Wielding aloft the politician rod,
Makes Pitt by turns a devil and a god;
Maintains, e’en to the very teeth of Power,
The same thing right and wrong in half an hour:
Now all is well, now he suspects a plot,
And plainly proves, whatever is, is not:
Fearfully wise, he shakes his empty head,
And deals out empires as he deals out thread;
His useless scales are in a corner flung,
And Europe’s balance hangs upon his tongue.
Peace to such triflers! be our happier plan
To pass through life as easy as we can.
Who’s in or out, who moves this grand machine,
Nor stirs my curiosity, nor spleen.
Secrets of state no more I wish to know
Than secret movements of a puppet-show:
Let but the puppets move, I’ve my desire,
Unseen the hand which guides the master-wire.
What is’t to us if taxes rise or fall?
Thanks to our fortune, we pay none at all.

Churchill ends his poem, in which he pungently tackles various societal issues of that time and repels the attacks on him,  with a sound insight and invoke: 

What is this World?–A term which men have got
To signify, not one in ten knows what;
A term, which with no more precision passes
To point out herds of men than herds of asses;
In common use no more it means, we find,
Than many fools in same opinions join’d.
Can numbers, then, change Nature’s stated laws?
Can numbers make the worse the better cause?
Vice must be vice, virtue be virtue still,
Though thousands rail at good, and practise ill.
Wouldst thou defend the Gaul’s destructive rage,
Because vast nations on his part engage?
Though, to support the rebel Caesar’s cause,
Tumultuous legions arm against the laws;
Though scandal would our patriot’s name impeach,
And rails at virtues which she cannot reach,  
What honest man but would with joy submit  
To bleed with Cato, and retire with Pitt?
Steadfast and true to virtue’s sacred laws,     
Unmoved by vulgar censure, or applause,
Let the World talk, my friend; that World, we know,     
Which calls us guilty, cannot make us so.     
Unawed by numbers, follow Nature’s plan;     
Assert the rights, or quit the name of man.     
Consider well, weigh strictly right and wrong;     
Resolve not quick, but once resolved, be strong.     
In spite of Dulness, and in spite of Wit,     
If to thyself thou canst thyself acquit,  
Rather stand up, assured with conscious pride,     
Alone, than err with millions on thy side.

The full poem: Churchill, Charles. 1761. “Night. An Epistle To Robert Lloyd”. London

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Political Economy of Labor Repression in the United States

by Andrew Kolin*

The task at hand is to place the political economy of repression within the contours of U.S. history and sketch in broad terms how, over time, repression is the product of dynamic and fixed relations between capital and labor. The goal of Political Economy of Labor Repression in the United States (2017) is to represent how capital is able to repress labor given essential prerequisites. By identifying how capital and labor interact, it is possible to outline the main features of repression. The intent is not to write a comprehensive history of capital-labor relations, instead it is to select specific points in time that best illustrate how capital represses labor. While this book makes use of important histories of labor, these histories do not address the book’s central themes, how a political economy of repression is produced and reproduced within institutional frameworks often overlooked in standard histories of  labor.
Labor historians often overlook how capital-labor interactions are structured in terms of the production and reproduction of repression, ignoring the bases of repression, grounded in and expressed through institutional exclusion. They also overlook how labor repression can be overcome due to the contradictory nature inherent in a political economy of repression. The first step in outlining the possible liberation of labor from a political economy of repression is to consider the historical conditions that produce the repression of labor in the United States.
Political Economy of Labor Repression in the United StatesThere are notable exceptions to this neglect of class relations in the context of institutional arrangements. This book’s emphasis is on key historical moments that illustrate how labor repression developed in terms of two key variables: first, a dependent variable that operates as institutional exclusion as capital assumes and works to maintain control over the state and the economy, and second, an independent variable, in key historical moments where one can measure the intent of labor repression in terms of the rise and fall of American capitalism.
The dependent variable appearing as institutional exclusion generates various forms of covert repression. For the repression to be covert, it would be built into the functions of the state and the economy in which capital has achieved hegemony. This dependent variable of institutional exclusion occurs as capital achieves a monopoly of ownership over the means of production. In so doing, ownership serves to legitimate the use of covert repression of labor in the workplace. In addition, excluding labor from a primary role as a decision-maker in the state results from elite ownership of state power, which in turn, justifies policies and actions, which recreate the oppression of labor. Frequently omitted from labor histories is this dual institutional exclusion, which makes it possible for elites to monopolize the resources of power, and in so doing, dominate labor. Expressions of overt repression, such as degrees of force and violence operating outside institutional frameworks, are the most visible forms of social control of labor.
Specific events dictate the usefulness of covert and overt repression. In comparing the present to the past, capital has been successful in utilizing with a greater degree of effectiveness covert rather than overt repression, especially in the latter part of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century. A qualification in assessing the use of covert and overt repression is the extent to which labor acknowledges its institutional exclusion, seeking to organize labor so as to be in a better position to achieve limited demands. This means that capital-labor relations and repression are not a zero-sum game. Capital and labor both understand at times the necessity of forging alliances. In specific historical moments, capitalists understand it is to their advantage to seek collective agreements with labor as a means of economizing the use of repression. For labor, it is not a matter of choice. Organized labor seeks inclusion, it seeks to collaborate in order to acquire short-term gains. Having achieved institutional exclusion from decision-making, capital maintains the upper hand in framing collaboration to its own advantage. Whether capital-labor engages in collaboration or labor segments engage in outright conflict in open antagonism is often determined by the economic cycles of American capitalism.
This is not to say there are no limits to labor repression expressed as collaboration and conflict between capital and labor. The inherent contradictions in how capital seeks to repress labor present possible alternatives. To identify alternatives to labor repression is to identify the built-in limitations inherent in a political economy of repression, thus identifying how labor would liberate itself from the dictates of capital. Discussing how labor could create economic and political democracy can include an examination of why repression is essentially self-destructive. Repression of labor by capital contains the seeds of its own destruction. Since the various means utilized to repress labor always out of necessity have to be reproduced, in this process of reproduction, the repression is never finalized and complete. In reproducing repression, labor, in combination with the appropriate historical circumstances, can work toward its liberation. So while the goal is to describe the production and reproduction of labor repression, such repression is always in contradiction to the social needs of labor, that is, the liberation of labor from the domination of capital. This inherent possibility of labor’s liberation is built into the limits of a political economy of repression.
* Andrew Kolin is professor of political science at Hilbert College

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The Art of Central Banking (2)

“The role of a central bank governor has a lot in common with that of a musical conductor, who leads people from different disciplines to create beautiful harmonies that add up to masterful symphonies. Of course, there were times we heard some discordant notes. But by and large, we played harmonious and beautiful music together, so to speak, that resulted in benefits for our people!
(Amando M. Tetangco, Former Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 3 July 2017)

> See also the previous piece of Art of Central Banking

central banking

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BITS & BRIEFS: Polanyi’s critique // Inequality and climate change // Ha-Joon Chang on economics // Conservative distrust in expertise // Infrastructuring stability

> Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation and its critique revive every time capitalism and mainstream economics fail. Steven Klein contends that Polanyi’s recent critique reveals the limits of current political and economic debates.

From the 1990s, elites aimed to get rid of the solidarity to instill skepticism about Climate Change — asserts Bruno Latour

> Ha-Joon Chang on the mystifying language of derivatives and how economics assumptions become gospel (RSA Animate, 10 instructive minutes) 

The distrust in expertise and validity is rooted in 50 years of conservative institution building, via media, courts, and think tanks — argues Kathryn Brownell 

Infrastructure for autocracy: the highways project in Nazi Germany signaled economic “competence”, and an end to austerity and political instability — Nico Voigtlaender and Hans-Joachim Voth

economics economic theory

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Economics to Sociology Phrasebook

In 1990, two economics PhD students at University of Chicago, Jeffrey A. Smith and Kermit Daniel, got bored hanging out with their fellow tiresome economists and boldly decided to graze in new attractive fields. Sensibly skipping over political scientists and anthropologists, Smith and Daniel (the former is currently University of Michigan economics professor and the latter is University of Chicago’s vice president) chose to pal around with sociologists — but they encountered a serious challenge: they barely managed to socially interact because of the language abyss between economists and sociologists.
To circumvent this problem, Smith and Daniel composed “Economics to Sociology Phrase Book” in order, as they put it, “to help economists adjust their way of speaking in a manner that will make it comprehensible to Sociologists”.
I found this two-page phrasebook witty and astute, taking into account the context it was written in. It is also amusing to mention that Daniel’s dissertation supervisor was Gary Becker (who applied microeconomics to analyze social phenomena) and the phrasebook reflects sociological jargon of 1980s. Concerning economics terminology, by the way, one can see that not so much has changed since then.
See below most interesting (in my view) entries from the phrasebook; the original paper is enclosed in the end of the post. 

economics sociology phrasebook


Source: Smith, Jeffrey and Kermit Daniel. 1990. “Economics to Sociology Phrase Book.”

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Great academic opportunities: 13 calls for papers, 11 job openings, 5 PhD positions, and 3 visiting fellowships

Dear ES/PE community member, see below an abundant list of great and interesting academic opportunities: 11 jobs and positions, call for papers10 calls for papers for conferences and workshops (several are partially funded), 5 PhD stipends, 3 calls for contributions to journals’ special issues, and 3 visiting fellowships for junior and senior researchers — in various areas of economic sociology and political economy, with August 29 – September 26 deadlines.
Share this post with your colleagues and students
. Good luck!

Calls for Papers:

> CfP: “Colonial debts, extractive nostalgias, imperial insolvencies – Reimagining financialization” workshop, Goldsmiths – University of London, September 22-23, 2017. DL: August 30

> CfP: 2017-2018 Oxford Graduate Seminar in Economic and Social History, Nuffield College, Oxford University (UK). Interested students can apply to present their research at the seminar during the forthcoming year. DL: August 31

> CfP: “Financial Regulation and Civil Liability in European Law: Towards a More Coordinated Approach?” conference, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 16-17 November 2017. DL: September 1

> CfP: “Political Economy of Democracy and Dictatorship” conference, University of Münster (Germany), 15-17 March, 2018. DL: September 1

CfP: “Law and Economics: Theoretical and Practical Dimensions of Interdisciplinarity” workshop, Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, University of Helsinki (Finland), November 9- 10, 2017. No participation fee. One dinner and two lunches will be offered. DL: September 1

> CfP: “Pluralism and Economics 10 Years after the Crisis (and 200 Years after Marx’s Birth)”, the International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics conference (ICAPE), Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA, USA), January 4, 2018. DL: September 5

> CfP: “Labor market and Economic perspectives on large-scale Migration in Sociology” conference, Mannheim Centre for European Social Research of the University of Mannheim (Germany), November 17-18, 2017. There is a limited funding for travel and accommodation. No conference fee; meals will be provided. DL: September 10  

> CfP: “Media Industry Studies: Current Debates and Future Directions” International conference, King’s College London, 18-20 April 2018. DL: September 15

> CfP: “Tuning into the Noise of Europe: A New Narrative of Europe in Times of Crisis” conference, The Hague University of Applied Science (The Netherlands), 18-19 January, 2018.  DL: September 15

> CfP: “Child and Teen Consumption“, the 8th International Conference at University of Poitiers (Angoulême, France), April 3-6, 2018. DL: September 18

Calls for contributions for special issues:

> CfP for Journal of Social History‘s special issue on “Social Histories of Neoliberalism“. DL: September 1

> CfP for Revue de la Régulation‘s special issue on Dependent capitalism” in Central and Eastern Europe: Theoretical foundations and diversity of national trajectories“. DL: September 4 

> Call for a contributor to the edited volume Sociology and Cultural Political Economy of Post-Socialist Transformations in Eastern Europe to write the chapter on the case of Latvia. The description of the project and contact are enclosed 

Visiting Fellowships:

> The Jos Berghman Welfare Studies Stipend for junior scholars and PhD students to spend a research term with the Team Social Policy and Social Work at KU Leuven (Belgium). DL: September 1

> 8 Fellowships (senior scholars and postdoctoral candidates) for the 2018-2019 academic year at The International Research Center “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History” at Humboldt University in Berlin. DL: September 10

> Three Visiting Fellowships in “Performing  Knowledge: The Politics and Economics of European Studies” at The Institute for European Global Studies of the University of Basel (Switzerland). DL: September 15

Jobs and positions:

Researcher to study European policies for global development at the interface of development policy and other relevant EU policies at The German Development Institute (Bonn, Germany). DL: August 29

> Research Fellow for “Matching Young People to Apprenticeships in Challenging Times” project as a part of “The German Labor Market in a Globalized World” Program at The WZB Berlin Social Science Center. DL: August 30

> Research Associate – Uses of the Past in International Economic Relations, Faculty of History, Oxford University. DL: August 30

Associate Professor in Economic and/or Financial History, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland). Prior knowledge of French is not required. DL: August 31

> Tenure-track assistant professor in sociology with a particular interest in candidates whose research includes the intersections of work, culture, and the economy; movements; race and inequality — at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Williams College ( Williamstown, MA, USA). DL: September 1

> Associate Professorship in Political Economy, Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University (Denmark). DL: September 1

Assistant Professor (tenure track) in Work, Economy, and Society  at Department of Sociology of University of Alberta (Canada). DL: September 5

> Faculty Position(s) in Work and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan School of Management. DL: September 8

Postdoctoral Researcher to work on the project “Critical Life Events and the Dynamics of Inequality: Risk, Vulnerability, and Cumulative Disadvantage” at The Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. DL: September 13

> Full Time Tenure Stream  Assistant Professor in Business and Society, Department of Social Science, York University (UK). DL: September 15

> Tenure track Assistant Professor in the areas of work, organizations, and economy at Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago. DL: September 26

Doctoral scholarships:

> PhD program and three stipends in Business, Institutions, Markets at “G. d’Annunzio” University – Pescara (Italy). DL: August 29 

PhD candidate on Regional and Neighbourhood Dynamics in View of Life Course and Class, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam. DL: September 4

5 PhD scholarships in Economic Sociology and Labour Studies at the University of Milan (Italy). DL: September 4

> 8 PhD Scholarships in “Comparative Analysis of Institutions, Economics and Law“, International Programme  of Università di Torino (Italy). DL: September 5

PhD scholarship on the Impact of Fiscal Policy, Housing Market and Inequality on Growth at the University of Greenwich (UK). DL: September 17

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BITS & BRIEFS: Judith Stein // Philanthrocapitalism // Economic Sociology vs. Behavioral Economics // Talks on capitalism and democracy in media // Black proletariat

RIP Judith Stein: a lifelong maverick scholar studying and teaching class, labor, elites, and race in the US history — by Nelson Lichtenstein

> Philanthrocapitalism: there is no such thing as a free gift. Linsey McGoey on reinforcing the existing power structures

Economic Sociology vs. Behavioral Economics: Relational work goes beyond emphasis on categorical differences because of gender, race or class. An article by Nina Bandelj, Fred Wherry and Viviana Zelizer depicting one of the arguments presented in their new book Money Talks: Explaining How Money Really Works

What do we learn from tracking talks on capitalism and democracy over 200 years in major newspapers? by Simon DeDeo

“Black proletariat is not part of the white proletariat”: W.E.B. DuBois’s Two Proletariats, Capitalism, and Democracy — by J. Phillip Thompson

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Ten years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis – the human toll in the financial services sector

by Gregor Gall*

Ten years ago this summer, the first rumblings of the thunderclap of what would become the global storm of the great financial crisis of 2007-2008 were heard. The first rumble to be heard was of the panic around sub-prime mortgages in the United States. Previously ever increasing house prices started to stall as people’s ability to pay their mortgages declined. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending agencies collapsed, necessitating government bailouts.  This was followed by BNP Paribas closed down two hedge funds as essentially worthless.
The contagion then spread to Britain, with the first run on a bank in one hundred and fifty years happening. This was Northern Rock. It was nationalised along with some other building societies and the financial titans of the Royal Bank of Scotland and LloydsTSB. Barclays only avoided needing a government bailout due to securing questionable loans from Qatar. The contagion spread into the wider economic system in Britain, with the credit crunch giving way to a financial crash and then a recession and that recession then gave way to an age of austerity in public spending and welfare which we are still living with today.
For a crisis that started in the financial services sector, relatively little is known about how it has affected the mass of ‘ordinary’ workers in this particular sector of the economy. Indeed, most of what is known in popular terms can be situated around ‘banker bashing on bonuses’ but this does nothing to shed light upon the post-crash experience of the massed ranks of the non-managers and non-executives in the financial services sector.
Employment Relations in Financial Services An Exploration of the EmployeeIn my new book, Employment Relations in Financial Services: An Exploration of the Employee Experience After the Financial Crash, I examine the processes and outcomes by which workers in the sector have been made to pay for a crisis and a calamity not of their own making. The book examines their working conditions and experience of work and employment in the sector and builds upon my previous book,  Labour Unionism in the Financial Services Sector: Struggling for Rights and Representation, which was published in 2008 just at the storm clouds were breaking.
The tale to be told in Employment Relations in Financial Services is a sorry one of redundancies, unpaid overtime, below inflation pay rises and ever more oppressive management techniques. Financial services sector workers are now working longer and harder for less in real terms. Indeed, those left in the sector can be seen as the most unfortunate ones because they are the ones having to pick up the pieces and do more with less. My book analyses these outcomes in terms of flight, fright, fight and falling-in-line.
There has been a massive amount of flight, fright and falling-in-line but sparse evidence of any fight. Hundreds of thousands have left the sector as result of voluntary severance packages. The fear of redundancy is one of the main factors which has resulted in workers experiencing fright. Another is performance management systems whereby individual workers’ pay rises are determined by managers’ assessments. In this system, underperformance leads to a not so polite invitation to leave the organisation. Some have referred to this as ‘being managed out the door’. The result has been a falling-in-line of workers chasing their tails to meet their ever growing number of targets.
Ironically, partnership working between unions and management in the sector – which has been more widespread in the sector than in any others – has survived the financial crash even though the companies have effectively ceased to negotiate with the unions, merely consulting with them now. It’s been a difficult situation for the unions – unable or unwilling to mobilise their members, membership has fallen in a self-reinforcing and downward spiral. That is why I was able to extend the four-fold analysis from my previous book into this new work in regard of the dissolution, disorganisation, dislocation and demoralisation of financial service sector workers’ collective organisation, namely, unions.
So, ten years on, is this just another hard luck story amongst many other hard luck stories in Britain today after the financial crisis of 2007-2008? Arguably, the extent and depth of the crisis in the financial services sector has been greater than that felt in other sectors of the economy. Consequently, the deleterious impact of the crisis upon workers’ terms and conditions as well as experience of work has been too. Compared to manufacturing, which was already experiencing decline and contraction, the fall from grace of the financial services sector has been quicker, steeper and more spectacular. The ‘health’ of the bankers’ bonus system may never return to quite was it was prior to the crash but after 2013 there was a revival in profitability and, thus, rewards for the top echelons. No such similar phenomenon was to be found lower down the pecking order.
Only full and proper state regulation of our financial and economic systems can prevent such a calamity from happening again. But it will also need state intervention in employment matters to protect workers’ interests and to support the creation of stronger unions to help in doing so. Currently, in Britain there is only one mainstream political party prepared to advocate such a course, and that is the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

For a book that unfortunately will be beyond the financial reach of many individuals, please consider getting your union branch, university library or public library to order a copy.
* Gregor Gall is professor of industrial relations at the University of Bradford

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