13 May 2022: Lecture: The Cultural Economy of Emancipatory Practice. Insights from Greece

Photo credit: Vangelis Patsialos

Title: The Cultural Economy of Emancipatory Practice. Insights from Greece.
Speaker: Dr. Dimitris Soudias, Marilena Laskaridis Visiting Research Fellow in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Amsterdam (2021-2022)
3.30-5.00 pm (CET).
University Theater (Nieuwe Doelenstraat16-18 1012 CP, Amsterdam); no registration needed.

Since the financial crisis, Greece has witnessed an array of emancipatory movements, based on direct democracy, solidarity, and self-organization. From the 2011 movement of the squares, to the formation of the social and solidarity economy sector, these movements challenge more than a decade of austerity neoliberalism, solve immediate social needs and aspire to a radically better future. Part of the problem with challenging neoliberalism, however, lies in the fact that many of its core principles – such as ‘management’, or ‘efficiency’ – have become commonsensical or even ‘natural’ ways of organizing. Moreover, neoliberalism has integrated critical activity into its mode of functioning through its own, market-based, logics of ‘resilience’, ‘creativity’, or ‘social innovation’. What are the consequences of addressing social issues with such logics? And what is at stake for the future of emancipatory practice under neoliberalism? Building on interviews with participants of the 2011 Syntagma Square occupation, the solidarity movement, and the social and solidarity economy, I highlight the strange ways in which neoliberal rationalities infiltrate emancipatory practices, and how this may change our understandings of solidarity, activism, and emancipation. In an effort to challenge these developments, I conclude with some thoughts on what we may call an ‘alter-neoliberal’ critique.

Dimitris Soudias is Marilena Laskaridis Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam. His recent publications include Subjects in crisis: Paradoxes of emancipation and alter-neoliberal critique (The Sociological Review), Imagining the Commoning Library: Alter-Neoliberal Pedagogy in Informational Capitalism (Journal of Digital Social Research), and Spatializing Radical Political. Imaginaries. Neoliberalism, Crisis, and Transformative Experience in the Syntagma Square Occupation in Greece (Contention).

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