Contested Futures and Temporalities of Capitalism

Conference, February 15 to 16, 2018 | Staszic Palace, Warsaw, Poland


Topic and Goal of the Conference

The workshop launches the Max Planck Partner Group for the Sociology of Economic Life. The Partner Group explores the cultural, social and political dimensions of contemporary economies. It has two main research areas: (1) Digital Economy and Contemporary Capitalism and (2) Contested Futures and Moral Economies. It is a joint project of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS PAN) in Warsaw and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) in Cologne.
This kick-off workshop will focus on investigating the notion of expectations as a topic of social research. It will bring together the top young scholars working on this topic in the field of sociology, anthropology, and history.
The starting point of the workshop will be the theory of “fictional expectations,” recently developed by Jens Beckert. Beckert has argued that in contemporary highly complex and uncertain world, expectations regarding the future should be understood as “fictions.” These fictions have important implications for social, political and economic outcomes; in fact the continual production of these fictions is the driving mechanisms behind the dynamics of contemporary capitalism.
Taking this theory as a vantage point, the workshop will investigate the role of expectations in economic and social life, as well as the specific temporal order of capitalism. The questions that will be asked during the workshop will include: What role do expectations regarding an uncertain future play in social life? How are expectations shaped by social factors and how do they in turn shape social outcomes? How are expectations influenced by moral considerations? What methods can social scientists use to study expectations? What theories have been used to explain and understand expectations and how do they relate to other theories within the disciplines of economic sociology and political economy?
These questions will be investigated from various theoretical perspectives and in the context of different empirical settings: from household decisions regarding budgeting, questions regarding taking a mortgage, to questions regarding work and consumption, as well as struggles over environmental policy.
The workshop will involve 12 to 15 participants who will discuss each other’s work, and it will include a lecture by Jens Beckert.


Organization and contact

Marcin Serafin

MPIfG: Conference "Contested Futures and Temporalities of Capitalism" | [Last updated 19.01.2018 14:38]