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  • Author or Editor: Bob Jessop x
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This article explores challenges to the state and state power originating in the world market and the world of states. It proposes an approach useful for this and other purposes and identifies reference points for discussing recent challenges. This cannot be the ‘state in general’ but must comprise well-specified, actually existing state forms. It then explores crises as an objectively overdetermined, subjectively indeterminate condensation of challenges that pose problems of crisis-management and may also lead to crises of crisis-management. It examines the interaction of economic and political crises and their possible role in the alleged decline of liberal democracy.

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Politicisation, depoliticisation, and repoliticisation are basic and interrelated concepts in political analysis. They may also describe specific political strategies in relatively stable, turbulent or crisisprone periods or concrete conjunctures. This article aims to clarify the chameleon-like concept of depoliticisation by distinguishing its different levels and forms. It also applies these distinctions to two cases of ‘depoliticisation’ in the fiscal politics of the North Atlantic Financial Crisis (NAFC). The magnitude, duration, and depth of this crisis have prompted an intriguing mix of de- and repoliticisation strategies. These are evident in the manufactured hysteria about the ‘fiscal cliff’ in the USA and the attempts to impose technocratic government and a new economic constitution in the Eurozone. The conclusion offers some general reflections.

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This chapter explores austerity policies in response to the recent North Atlantic Financial Crisis and its articulation to the Eurozone crisis. The analysis is primarily theoretical in approach but illustrates this through the four case studies: the US, UK, Germany and Greece. It relates these cases to the changing character of the modern tax state and changes in a variegated global and regional economic and political order. It also distinguishes conjunctural policies of austerity, an enduring politics of austerity, and an emerging ‘austerity polity’ that has marked authoritarian statist features. These issues are explored in part through a concern with alternative economic and political imaginaries and types of neoliberalism and in part through a critical political economy of finance-dominated accumulation and the politics of the Eurozone. It concludes with remarks on the limits to neoliberal austerity and the catastrophic equilibrium of forces that is blocking efforts to overcome these limits.

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Politicisation, depoliticisation, and repoliticisation are basic and interrelated concepts in political analysis. They may also describe specific political strategies in relatively stable, turbulent or crisis-prone periods or concrete conjunctures. This article aims to clarify the chameleon-like concept of depoliticisation by distinguishing its different levels and forms. It also applies these distinctions to two cases of ‘depoliticisation’ in the fiscal politics of the North Atlantic Financial Crisis (NAFC). The magnitude, duration, and depth of this crisis have prompted an intriguing mix of de- and repoliticisation strategies. These are evident in the manufactured hysteria about the ‘fiscal cliff’ in the USA and the attempts to impose technocratic government and a new economic constitution in the Eurozone. The conclusion offers some general reflections.

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Civil society exists at the intersection of networks and solidarity as opposed to markets or command and its agents have the potential to guide markets and state action. It may serve as a means of self-responsibilization as well as self-emancipation. It comprises a heterogeneous set of institutional orders and pluralistic set of agents, many of which are operationally autonomous and resistant to control from outside – whether through market forces, top-down command by the state or horizontal networking. This chapter presents the theoretical background to interest in governance, shows the etymological roots of the concept, offers some reasons for the explosion of interest in governance in the 1960s and 1970s, and describes the main features of governance practices.

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This book locates how civil society organizations, partnerships, and associations are being mobilized in response to market failure and state failure. This is related to critical governance studies and explores two political strategies that seek to recontextualize the significance of civil society. One strategy is individual and collective self-responsibilization to lighten the governance burdens of local and central states. The other is collective self-emancipation through social innovation, community mobilization, and creating the commons to limit or escape the constraints of market and state. Thus, governance can be located at the intersection of networks and solidarity as alternatives to market exchange and hierarchical command. The book will juxtapose ‘romantic public irony’ to fatalism, stoicism, cynicism, or opportunism.

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This chapter distinguishes Foucault’s approach from the work of Anglo-Foucauldian scholars. The latter adopted a microsocial perspective, focused on the programmes and rationalities of government that work across multiple alliances between different actors, and argued for bottom-up civil society responsibilization. Foucault was not only state-phobic but also suspicious of political action based on civil society. His theoretical interests shifted from the micro-physics of disciplinary society and its anatomo-politics of the body to the more general strategic codification of a plurality of discourses, practices, technologies of power, and institutional ensembles around a specific governmental rationality concerned with the social body (bio-power) in a consolidated capitalist society. This is reflected in the statification of government and the governmentalization of the state. This led to his analyses of sovereignty, territorial statehood, and state power and the role of civil society in this regard and to less well-substantiated claims about their articulation to the logic of capital accumulation.

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The author introduces semantic fixes and then considers institutional and spatio-temporal fixes. The analysis relates the author’s previous work on conjunctural analysis, cultural political economy, and social fixes directly to various forms of governance. Institutional and spatio-temporal fixes treat space and time as direct objects of governance, governing the spatio-temporal dimensions of other substantive objects of governance and compensating for the uneven spatio-temporal effects of governance. This facilitates the study of how the inherent contradictions and antagonisms of capitalism are governed through a historically variable set of semantic, institutional, and spatio-temporal fixes. It shows that state power can be analysed as ‘government + governance in the shadow of hierarchy’ and reveals the role of governance and multispatial metagovernance.

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For both Marx and Gramsci, the separation between the economic and political spheres was a key feature of bourgeois societies. Marx saw the conflict between bourgeois and citoyen as requiring resistance to this separation as crucial to democratic emancipation and wrote that the Paris Commune realized this. He also saw social emancipation in terms of the expansion of free time rather than work time. Gramsci argued that civil society became more important in the 1870s as the masses gained the vote in political rights. They both argued that democracy could not be restricted to the political sphere but should also involve economic democracy. This is undermined by the expansion of the world market and survival of national states.

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This book interprets civil society both as a shifting horizon of action and as an ensemble of governance arrangements with diverse agents rather than as a fixed reality with a definite substance. Its focus is not so much on civil society as it is on governance, metagovernance, and their forms of failure. These phenomena are examined from a governance theoretical viewpoint concerned with the coordination through self-organizing networks, partnerships and other forms of reflexive collaboration and, relatedly, in terms of an alleged ‘shift from government to governance’ in the polity and similar shifts from hierarchical authority to networked or ‘heterarchical’ coordination in many other social fields. After exploring these themes, the book presents the two phases of the WISERD civil society research programme and locates it in terms of Marx, Gramsci, and Foucault. The book then presents Bob Jessop’s own case studies of the role of governance in tackling economic and social problems and the limits and failures of economic and social policy in various styles of governance. It concludes with remarks on the struggle to integrate civil society into governance, and the power of social networks and solidarity within civil society. It thereby provides a comprehensive review of the factors that influence their success and identifies lessons for future social innovation.

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