Wednesday, 7. July 2021, 18:00

Beyond Globalization & Deglobalization

Implication for the Socio-Ecological Transformation

Two webinars organized by the International Karl Polanyi Society (IKPS) together with Euromemorandum, Mattersburger Kreis für Entwicklungspolitik an den österreichischen Universitäten, Institute for Multi-Level Governance and Development (WU Vienna), Institute for Political Science (University of Vienna), FH des BFI-Wien, ÖFSE The webinars are organized with the support of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels.

What? 2 x 2h, maximum of 5 people each based on two texts (Eder/Novy and Brand et al/Novy)
When? 7th of July and 14th of September 2021, 18.00 – 20.00

(1) Beyond Deglobalization and Globalization: In search for planetary co-existence

Date: July 7th 2021, 18.00 – 20.00
Facilitation: Andreas Novy


  • Julia Eder, PhD Candidate in Sociology, Johannes Kepler University Linz
  • Sarah McKinley, Director for European Programs for The Democracy Collaborative and the European Representative for the Next System Project
  • Heikki Patomäki, Professor of Political Science, University of Helsinki

In search of alternatives, globalists, from the right to the left, stress the necessity to solve global problems via global solutions, even acknowledging that they are improbable, while others insist on local and grassroots solutions, even at a time of increased exclusionary policies. The best way to leave behind related futile strategic debates is to overcome spatial fetishism, especially the temptation to privilege, either politically or morally, a certain spatial scale. However, policy space differs according to scale and according to the specific insertion into the transnational division of labor. Therefore, in order to formulate a socially and ecologically sustainable development strategy, the socio-spatial context needs to be critically reflected. This is valid for any national or European industrial policy strategy but especially if the stimulation of local development is the main objective. Community Wealth Being represents an innovative example of the latter that seeks to strengthen self-reliance by increasing local policy space. Like the foundational economy and New Municipalism, it offers alternatives “from below” against the turmoil caused by neoliberal globalization.

In the basic reading for this evening’s debate, Andreas Novy proposes planetary co-existence as a strategy in times of social-ecological transformation that uses the potential of different levels of intervention, while being aware of related dangers and traps. Facing the urgent need for protection, he stresses the prime objective of organizing the livelihood by means of a vivid foundational economy. In line with Polanyi, he stresses the necessity of territorial sovereignty and proper policy space and explores the potentials of regionalization. 1964, at the end of his life, Karl Polanyi was co-founder together with his wife Ilona Ducyznska of a quarterly journal called Co-existence, in an attempt to contribute to overcoming the then Cold War. Today, faced with profound transformations and a re-emergence of diverse geopolitical tensions the debates on a future world order have identified. While climate crisis and the Covid-pandemic show our mutual interdependency and vulnerability, locational competition and military tensions make international cooperation increasingly difficult.

How to attend: Register here!

(2) Deglobalization and Social-Ecological Transformation: In search of policy spaces

Date: September 14th 2021, 18.00 – 20.00
Facilitator: Ulrich Brand & Andreas Novy


  • Miriam Lang (tbc)
  • Colleen Schneider und Ian Gough (tbc)

The issue of limits is back on the agenda! The planetary boundaries concept has profoundly changed the vocabulary and representation of global environmental issues. Recently, it has been enriched by reflections on societal boundaries that define collective autonomy and the politics of self-limitation as key elements, acknowledging pluriverse experiences that integrate wellbeing and boundaries. These alternatives promote social freedom, defined as the right to not have to live at others’ expenses. This utopian horizon structures the search for social-ecological alternatives to neoliberal globalization. However, it often lacks an answer to the challenge posed by adverse societal dynamics: be it majorities that reject limiting their consumption, or enemies that obstruct cooperation and solidarity to achieve a good life for all – today increasingly present in diverse forms of reactionary politics.

Karl Polanyi, aware of this, insisted in the final chapter in The Great Transformation: “No society is possible in which power and compulsion are absent, nor a world in which force has no function. It was an illusion to assume a society shaped by man’s will and wish alone.”

What does this mean for actual power constellations, given territorial sovereignty, existing policy spaces and public authorities (from municipalities to supranational institutions) in implementing necessary institutional and infrastructural changes for a just and solidaristic transformation? Can limits be imposed without borders? Can neoliberal globalization be overcome without strengthening certain borders, while eroding others?

Further reading

Brand et al. (2021): From Planetary to Societal Boundaries: An argument for collectively defined self-limitation (unpublished)

Eder, Julia (2021): Decreasing Dependency through Self-Reliance. Strengthening Local Economies through Community Wealth Building. In: ICAE Workung Paper Series – No. 124. Linz: Johannes Kepler University.

Novy, Andreas (2020): The Political Trilemma of Social-Ecological Transformation. Lessons from Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation. In: Globalizations. Taylor & Francis Online.

Webinar on the Political Trilemma of Social-Ecological Transformation

More information about upcoming webinars from the International Karl Polanyi Society: