Imaging Europe: Beaucratic Narratives and Ideological Dreams

The Frisby Memorial Lectures, University of Glasgow, September 19, 2017

The European Union is not Europe. Europe is a two thousand year old civilizational landscape housing a multitude of different but related societies. The European Union is a political construct dating from the 1950s that has in its short lifetime undergone continuous deep transformation. Like earlier political constructs in Europe, it seeks legitimacy by encouraging stories about itself that connect it to Europe as a continent and its supposed historical purpose, cultural identity, and moral unity. European cultural and historical narratives deployed to legitimate the European Union as a political project are the latest in a long line of earlier stories of Europe, each linked to the political and economic objectives and power relations of the day. Like other ideologies, they are dropped and replaced depending on what political opportunities allow or require; they tell us more about Europe’s politics than about Europe. Identification with Europe as a civilization does not require identification with the European Union as a political construction. Depending on the changing condition of the latter it may in fact be incompatible with it.

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Producir ciencia social crítica en el interregno

Entrevista, Revista de Actualidad Política, Social y Cultural, 17 de abril del 2017

Profesor Streeck, muchas gracias por la posibilidad de conversar con usted. Me interesa formularle algunas preguntas sobre los procesos que la sociedad global está viviendo hoy en día.

Muy bien. Intentaré dar mis mejores respuestas. Sin embargo, debo comenzar con una nota de precaución: vivimos en un tiempo en que las cosas se han vuelto tremendamente impredecibles, por razones que podemos ir discutiendo; y si bien sabemos por qué esto está ocurriendo, de todas maneras el resultado es que podemos esperar nuevas sorpresas, y por definición uno no conoce de antemano las sorpresas. (Continue)

Crisis and Critique of Social Sciences

Sociologica, 3/2016

Conversation with Riccardo Emilio Chesta

Retracing Wolfgang Streeck’s scientific path, the following interview illustrates some key nodes in critical political economy to finally focus on the general state of contemporary sociology. As a specific stream of a scientific niche, critical political economy addresses indeed relevant questions to both empirical research and sociological theory. Rooted in the so called “critical theory”, Streeck explains how every analysis of the institutional frameworks of contemporary capitalism cannot be detached from a historically grounded and a theoretically informed macro-sociological research. This peculiar articulation allows moreover to investigate the relations between social sciences research on diversity of capitalism and its political salience for democratic capitalism. Moving from personal experiences until general assessments on the state of the discipline, the interview finally aims to shed light on the practice of sociology as a Weberian Beruf – a professional and intellectual craft – and to elucidate its possibilities and limitations in the working and living conditions of contemporary academia.

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« Marx n’avait pas prévu Keynes »

Interview publié dans le magazine Books, Janvier/Février 2017, pp. 28-30

Que pouvons-nous encore ­apprendre de Karl Marx ?

D’abord que notre société est une société historique, qui s’inscrit dans un flux d’événements. Et ­ensuite que ce flux d’événements ­s’ordonne de façon structurelle, que l’évolution de la société obéit donc à une logique qu’il nous faut comprendre pour pouvoir inter­préter ce qui se passe. Cette logique est difficile à reconstruire, mais elle dyna­mise de façon extra­ordinaire la théorie et l’expérience historique. (…)

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Interview: Capitalism Breeds Reckless Consumption and Starves the Public Sphere

Truth-Out.org, December 11, 2016

You cite the end of WWII as the time that capitalism and democracy became intractably enmeshed. How did it come to be that Western democracies came to assert that freedom could not exist without capitalism?

The way I would put it is that they became temporarily reconciled through Keynes‘ discovery that economic growth can be stimulated by redistribution from the wealthy to the poor. But „intractably enmeshed“ they were precisely not, as we have seen in recent decades when they were extricated from one another in the course of the neoliberal revolution. The pattern that emerged was what I call Hayekian statism: a strong state preventing democratic-egalitarian interference with markets, to allow the market to do its work — redistribute according to market rules, i.e., from the bottom to the top. Weiterlesen