International Conference 'Talking about economics in the socialist world' (Geneva)

International Conference 'Talking about economics in the socialist world' will take place in Geneva (Switzerland) on April 16-17, 2015.

The colloquium will focus on the discourses about the socialist economy and their substantial but often unknown or insufficiently explored contents and the multiple ideas about the economy expressed by contemporaries. This colloquium intends to challenge both the assumption of a monolithic character of the hypothetical socialist economic model, incapable of reform or adaptation to the changing economic environment.

The colloquium aims at analysing economic thought in the socialist world. As well as the socialist states, the socialist world is understood here to include communist parties and socialist intellectuals in capitalist states. The main focus will lie on the time between 1917 and 1990.

It will focus on the actors who produced discourses on the socialist economy, the spaces in which such reforms were conceived and discussed.

Three analytical trajectories are proposed in order to fulfil this research agenda:

  1. The first axis of research deals with the construction of a model discourse about the economics of socialism by the Soviet leaders and its influence on the socialist and communist parties in Europe in the interwar period and beyond. We would here consider papers dealing for example with debates about the NEP (both in the Soviet Union and in the communist parties in Western Europe), the reconfiguration of a socialist economic discourse in the West during the interwar period. Also of interest would be research analysing the adaption of the soviet models into different national schools after the Second World War. Furthermore, papers analysing alternatives to the Soviet model of economics such as the economic ideology of the Chinese communist party or the Yugoslavian discourse about the participation of the workers in the governance of the economy.
  2. The second Axis concentrates on the semantics of economics in socialism. Papers focusing on the idea of a "plan", the concepts of "market", "advertisement", the "international division of labour" and the circulation of shared economic concepts between the East and the West will be welcome.
  3. The question of the international cooperation between the socialist countries as a peculiar space promoting reformist discourses on economics will constitute the last axis of enquiry. Proposals concerning this trajectory should address the idea of a socialist world system, the role of COMECON in promoting economic reform discourses, or the participation of the socialist countries in the UNECE and CSCE economic cooperation.

The conference language is English. Accommodation costs will be covered.

For applying, please, submit a short CV and your proposals (no more than 500 words) to:, no later than December 1st 2014.

For additional information, please, follow this web-link.