Call for papers – Conference
Fordism, Financialization, Neoliberalism: mutations, transitions, shifts and
continuities within organizations. A cross-disciplinary approach
Keynote Speaker : Neil Fligstein
Lille, 6-7 October 2022
The aim of this conference is to challenge the classic narrative concerning the major economic changes that occurred during the last third of the 20th century by bringing together several disciplinary traditions. Its starting point will be France, which boasts a large body of literature, and the subsequent focus will be a comparison with other countries. The concepts of ‘financialization’ and ‘neoliberalism’ underpin numerous developments. In approximate terms, the former refers to the unprecedented rise in markets, financial actors, financial reasons for regulating economies, the management of organizations with increasing shareholder value, as well as the management of individuals’ daily lives (Epstein, 2005; Van der Zwan, 2014). Since the 1980s, the concept of ‘neoliberalism’ has been associated with a process in which the State has accompanied a new expansionist phase for shareholders and their representatives, holders of wealth, and specialists in the accumulation of financial capital. For this to happen, the state has had to create and maintain an institutional framework characterized by free trade and omnipotent markets within which property rights are guaranteed. These elements have ensured that the growth in ‘oligopolistic, monopolistic and transnational power held by a handful of centralized
multinationals’ (Harvey, 2014, p. 124) has been reinforced, and explains why the two concepts frequently go hand in hand with globalization.
However, as neoliberalism and financialization tend to permeate the work of economists, historians, management experts and sociologists who have sought to portray the significant contemporary changes in capitalism, this has increasingly varied their scope. Indeed, the rift which was originally created by the School of Regulation between industrial Fordism and neoliberal financialization is now more nuanced (Aglietta, 1978). A new generation of neoregulationists has been more flexible in its consideration of institutional transformations within the economy. Moreover, a large body of work has helped deconstruct the paradigmatic shift of the 1980s and its direct links to financialization and neoliberalism. This new paradigm would be the negation of the Fordist production regime. To speak of neoliberal financialization hence poses the risk of imagining a previously absent and now hegemonic finance, whereas historians, management experts, sociologists, economists and political scientists have been identifying the multiple dynamics of transitions, some of which are disadjusted or even contradictory.
Firstly, the concept of neoliberalism has been dismantled and reinstated within the long history of French economic policies by Richard Kuisel (Kuisel, 1984), François Denord (Denord, 2007) and Brigitte Gaïti, who saw a ‘discreet erosion of the welfare state’ from the 1950s onwards (Gaïti, 2014). Their research reestablishes the developments associated with neoliberalism within a broader chronology. In regard to the evolving structures of the so-called regulatory state, we should mention the work of Laure Quennouëlle-Corre (Quennouëlle-Corre, 2001), Benjamin Lemoine (Lemoine, 2016), Sarah Kolopp (Kolopp, 2013) and Michel Margairaz (Margairaz, 2019). These authors highlight previous trends toward deregulation while emphasizing the active role of administrative and political actors from the 1960s onwards. This is a far cry from the notion that agents were being forced to succumb to recent market constraints. As a result, the shift from regulation to deregulation at the beginning of the 1980s is largely nuanced, particularly through what was known as the “watershed austerity” of 1983 (Eloire, 2020), and should now be included in a much broader series of regulatory developments (Descamps & Quennouëlle-Corre, 2018). Thus, these authors have examined the chronological emergence of neoliberal concepts and their infiltration into the heart of state apparatus, and this has led to questions about the exact nature of the state, as well as the relationship between public and private actors.
For more information, please refer to the attached PDF document. The English version is the second part of the document.