Reflections from Around the Globe at Science-Po
The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) held its 21st annual meeting at SciencesPo from July 16th to 18th. This year’s meeting, titled Capitalism in Crisis: What’s Next? was the biggest in the organization’s history. SASE recently moved its headquarters from Loyola University to the Center for the Sociology of Organizations at SciencesPo. SASE Executive Director Martha Zuber and her staff worked with SciencesPo’s own Patrick Le Galès and Cathie Jo Martin of Boston University to organize the conference, with support from a local committee under the aegis of SciencesPo researcher Bruno Palier.
700 sociologists, economists, political scientists and legal scholars working through a dozen different research tracks gathered from 40 countries to discuss changing approaches to capitalism and other topics relating to this year’s highly pertinent theme. Some 250 panels and sessions examined nearly every facet of the broad, cross-disciplinary field of socio-economics, from pressing financial questions to wine markets to the making of an international bourgeoisie.
A recurring question in the conference: are we witnessing a change, and if so, what has changed? Other major themes concerned the establishment of price and value and markets and firms, and how organizations, nations, and transnational institutions are confronting the current economic crisis.
Robert Boyer, one of the pioneers of the Regulation School of economics, kicked off the meeting with his plenary presentation “Anticipating and Understanding the Present Crisis: the Contributions of Socio-Economics and Financial History.” Other highlights of the meeting were presentations by Philippe Steiner on the market for body parts and by political scientist Kellee Tsai, who discussed her latest book, Capitalism Without Democracy. The conference ended with a lively talk by UC Berkeley sociologist Neil Fligstein on the causes of the subprime crisis and the lessons to be learned from it.
The conversation continued at SASE’s gala reception, held beneath the gilded ceilings of the Paris stock exchange, built by Napoleon I in 1808 – a highly appropriate venue! Next year’s meeting will be held on June 24-26 at Temple University in Philadelphia.