Congresos y reuniones científicas
Transnational Historical Materialism and the advancement of Global Studies in the field of Economics
Conferencia; International Conference 10 Years Global Studies and 3rd EMGS Alumni Convention; 2015
Institución organizadora:
Universit├Ąt Leipzig

Global Studies as a discipline has put under question one ofthe main assumptions that has underlined modern social sciences: the state asthe natural scale for the analysis of social phenomena. It has done so byemphasizing the relevance of processes and flows that take place acrossborders, i.e., transnationally. The fact that social relations and interactionsare less and less framed by national borders is the result of a contestedprocess of de- and re-regulation, in which different social forces struggle forthe control of social processes. Economics has been a popular field for theexamination of globalization, since the latter has been many times understoodas an exclusively economic phenomenon. However, much of the research within thefield of economics has been dominated by a state-centric perspective, accordingto which nation-states constituted differentiated units of production andaccumulation and interacted to each other through exchange.

This view of nation-states as containers, relating to eachother through the trade of inputs/outputs, has provided an incomplete accountof globalization. However, in the last decades, some theoretical strands haveattempted to integrate, if not ?Global Studies? as a discipline, many of itsguiding principles: the specificity of the transnational, the need tohistoricize social phenomena and the call for transdisciplinary efforts. Therelatively new field of International Political Economy can be partially seenas a consequence of these efforts. While it is far from constituting a properly?global? discipline, it has come to host theoretical perspectives that gobeyond nation-centrism and attempt to explain current capitalism by accountingfor its specificity.

The goal of my presentation is to provide an overview of aneo-Gramscian perspective that has sought to identify and describe the maincharacteristics that distinguish today?s ?global capitalism?. Building on thework by Kees van del Pijl, Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Henk Overbeek and WilliamRobinson, among others, I will present the three most relevant processes thatmake today?s capitalism global. 

First, we assist to a process of transnationalization of therelations of production. In the last decades, the productive process of asingle good has become each time less bounded by national borders, beinginstead deployed across boundaries and interconnecting different societies. Thetransformation of the material process of production has consequently impactedon the social and political relations attached to it. Therefore, the secondprocess presented will be that of the transnationalization of social classes.The globalization of economic relations has brought with it new arenas wheresocial groups interact, transcending the nation state as the most relevant scalefor the formation of social classes and class conflict. Lastly, theincreasingly global character of economic and class relations has posedimportant challenges to the political authority of the nation-state. The thirdpoint of my exposition will hence discuss the hypothesis of the emergence of atransnational state.