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Think about violence with Karl Polanyi. From the self-referentiality of the market to the self-referentiality of the economy and politics



ID: <http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/192679>


The work of K. Polanyi does not only offer an anthropological basis for criticising the hegemony of the market economy. She also proposed a very suggestive reading of the foundations of violence in liberal democracies. But it does so in a way that deserves to be questioned. This diagram is briefly as follows: the utopia of the self-regulating market has caused the market to run out of the market; it has transformed the formal economy into a self-referential economy. This dual process generates massive inequalities, but also a feeling of disownership among populations. In Polanyi, this second aspect is also — or even more important — than the former. It is he who announces the return of a violent reshaping of the economy into politics, through totalitarianism. On the other hand, it is important to continue the plan for a democratic reshaping of the economy, mobilising three types of regulation: market, redistribution and reciprocity. This so-called “institutionalist” perspective defends the project of institutional reconstruction of the economy; it makes the plurality of economic principles a key issue. But does Polanyi not underestimate the self-referencing of the political sphere, including in democracy? Does it not go beyond the fact that violence has not only its source in an economy, but in a policy that is detached from society? In other words, does it not underestimate the violence of political institutions in their relationship with the living worlds? It is to such questions that the Communication intends to respond, specifying how the Polanian perspective could incorporate such a concern.

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