July 16-18, 2009
Sciences Po Paris, France

2009 – France

Capitalism in Crisis: What's Next? Economic Regulation and Social Solidarity after the Fall of Finance Capitalism

To paraphrase the ancient Chinese curse, we have the questionable privilege of living in interesting times. As the recent financial crisis made agonizingly clear, the future of capitalism is up for grabs and, at a minimum, the years of neoliberal triumph have come to an end. One craves a lantern at this dark and troubling moment, and the 2009 annual conference of the Society of the Advancement of Socio-Economics will provide illumination into the crisis and its aftermath.

First, we encourage scholars to explore the causes for the current economic decline and their implications for modes of regulating advanced capitalist economies. What has been the impact of globalization without regulation and does the current crisis signal a death knell for laissez-faire capitalism? How have different countries and regions attempted to manage the transition to post-industrial capitalism and what models have worked best to weather the current economic upheaval? What will be the role of the state and political contestation in the transition to a new regulatory regime and in managing post-financial, post-industrial capitalism?

Second, we welcome contributions that consider whether economic efficiency can be reconciled with social solidarity under the new rules of capitalist competition. Institutional arrangements supporting managed capitalism have been challenged by new market pressures, neo-liberal ideology, and economic, social and political uncertainties. What is the future for the social and political institutions that support egalitarian forms of capitalism? How do contemporary developments resonate with historical turning points that gave rise to the development of key social and political institutions? We also welcome contributions that compare evolving forms of capitalism in developing and transition societies, and papers that contrast institutional development in these countries with changes in developed countries. Scholars might choose to investigate the challenges posed by globalization, the transition to a service economy, immigration, financial integration (and disintegration), and religious or ethnic strife – and to explore how various institutional realms at the national and international levels interact and respond to contemporary challenges.

Finally, while the literature on “models” or “varieties” of capitalism is vast, it has paid little attention to the dynamics of change in contemporary capitalism and, rather, has identified distinctive – yet static – constellations that are linked to varied political and policy outcomes. The enormous problems we face in the twenty-first century require scholars to move beyond the traditional comparative-statics “comfort zone” of institutional analysis. We invite scholars to bring insights from their specific empirical studies to develop new concepts and tools for analyzing institutional change today.


Program Directors
  • Patrick Le Galès
  • Cathie Jo Martin
Local Organizing Committee
  • Sophie Dubuisson
  • Pierre François
  • Emiliano Grossman
  • Nicolas Jabko
  • Christine Musselin
  • Bruno Palier
  • Michael Storper
  • Cornelia Woll

Online program is available here.


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.

Featured Speakers

SASE Presents Speakers for its 21st Annual Meeting

Robert Boyer
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Neil Fligstein
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Kellee S. Tsai
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Philippe Steiner
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