Capitalism constitutes the dominant socioeconomic model in our time and has been regarded as a centerpiece of progress. However, calls to rethink the economy are increasing in number and force.
During the past decades, there has been a growing realization that the transgression of planetary boundaries as well as the broader sustainability crisis have to be examined not only in relation to the impact of human activities, but more specifically in relation to the political economy of capitalism.
This prompts retheorizing capitalism in International Relations (IR), International Political Economy (IPE) and social sciences more broadly. The POSTCAPE project suggests that assemblage thinking – combined with insights drawn from debates on peri- and postcapitalism – offers fruitful points of departure for such retheorization. It offers an alternative to theories constructed on the basis of rational actor models as well as theories that assume that capitalism constitutes a systemic totality.
The project is organized as a multisited ethnography. The members of the research team analyze a set of sites across the world (e.g. in Finland, Russia and Central Asia). They scrutinize the contemporary university, rooftop gardens, the demented subject as well as the migrant metropolis.
Assembling postcapitalist international political economy also requires expanding our ways of disciplinary knowledge production. For this reason, the POSTCAPE project engages with aesthetic international political economy and arts-based research. It explores new ways of collaborating with informants and artists not only in representing and disseminating research but also in enabling a politics of invention in social scientific knowledge.
The project is expected to cultivate awareness of diverse economic ontologies. This type of knowledge is becoming more and more valuable as the dominant societal progress tales lose their appeal with the growing awareness of the crisis and contradictions of capitalism.
The POSTCAPE project is funded by the Academy of Finland and Tampere University.