Why is there no double movement in the 21st century?

Vendredi 17 mai, 16h30, 4e session : Justice et cosmopolitisme en question

Nancy Fraser, professeur à la New School for Social Research de New-York, titulaire de la chaire « Repenser la justice sociale » du Collège d’études mondiales

Fraser indignes bastille

In many respects, today’s crisis resembles the crisis of the 1930s, as described by Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation. Now, as then, a relentless push to extend and de-regulate markets in labor, nature and finance is destroying livelihoods, rupturing communities, and despoiling nature. Nevertheless, the political response today is strikingly different. In the first half of the 20th century, social struggles surrounding the crisis formed what Polanyi called a “double movement,” as a broad-based, coordinated resistance formed to protect society from the ravages of the market. Today, however, neoliberalism generates no such counter-hegemonic opposition, despite intense but ephemeral outbursts, such as “occupy” and the indignados. Thus, we lack a double movement in Polanyi’s sense. What should we make of this situation? How should we explain and evaluate the non-polanyian character of the political landscape in the 21st century? After assessing some widely cited but unsatisfactory hypotheses, I shall propose an alternative that clarifies the prospects for emancipatory social transformation in the 21st century.


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