Neoliberalism, Social Oppression and Class Relations – London, 25 January

8th Dec 2017

Neoliberalism, Social Oppression and Class Relations

Neoliberal capitalist development has entrenched the culturally specific character of labour power based on race, ethnicity, gender, caste and tribe. Theories of ‘intersectionality’ have drawn attention to how injustice and social inequality are multidimensional, involving several social identities – such as gender, race, social class – that ‘interact with each other.’ However, analyses of racism and capitalism have emphasised that these are not independent ‘variables’ as the capitalist political economy inextricably links class relations with other forms of social oppression.

This conference will deepen our understanding of how identity-based social oppression is constitutive of and shapes how working people are incorporated into the capitalist economy, and produce and reproduce themselves and their households. In doing so it will also shed new light on how these processes of social oppression enable the persistence of economic inequalities.

We will discuss and debate analytical approaches such as ‘class racism’ (Balibar 1991), ‘conjugated oppression’ (Bourgois 1995) and ‘working class racism’ (Roediger 1991) in relation to insights of recent studies on the dynamics of globalised neoliberalism and race, ethnicity, caste, tribe, gender and class relations, grounded in different parts of the world. We will also consider the implications of these analyses for the struggles from below against these inequalities.


1.00 – 2.30

Keynote lecture 

Philip Bourgois: From conjugated oppression to predatory accumulation in the open air narcotics markets of the US inner-city Puerto Rican colonial diaspora

Chair: Deborah James

2.30 – 2.45 coffee and tea

2.45 – 4.15

Jeffery Webber: Combined Oppositional Consciousness: Latin American Liberation Struggles in a Time of Extractive Capital.

Shelley Feldman: Deep Roots: The Ambivalences and Ambiguities of Being a ‘Bangladeshi’ Hindu.

Discussant: Henry Bernstein

Chair: Diane Perrons

4.15 – 4.30 Coffee

4.30 – 6.00

Tithi Bhattacharya: “Stree-Shudra-Atisudra”: Social Reproduction of Life and the Emancipatory Totalities of Dalit History.

Bev Skegs: Moral economies of personhood: generating solidarity and making values from pathology.

Discussant: Alessandra Mezzadri

Chair: Mike Savage


Book launch: Alpa Shah, Jens Lerche, Richard Axelby, Dalel Benbabaali, Brendan Donegan, Jayaseelan Raj and Vikramaditya Thakur. 2018. Ground Down by Growth: Tribe, Caste, Class and Inequality in 21st Century India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press and London: Pluto Press.

Discussant: Phillippe Bourgois

Alpa Shah, Jens Lerche (authors)

Chair: Katy Gardner

Please note that the book launch will be held in the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE. For more information please visit http://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2018/01/20180125t1830vOT/ground-down-by-growth