INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY CONFERENCE
The concept of political economy has no longer been on the agenda of recent debates. It has b mainly been classical school scholars such as Smith and Ricardo using the concept, and then Marx reclaimed the notion though its origin can be traced back to older times. Since the emergence of neo-classical school the notion of economics has been preferred though what is meant by political economy is a broader one even including the concept of economics. Today the discipline of the economics has come to be understood as a sphere of technical specialisation asserting to be as objective as natural sciences and within which economic phenomena are measured in the form of numbers and shown on graphics as if existing independent from other social instances.
Indeed, by emhasising on the notion of political economy International Political Economy Conference takes the society as the object of inquiry. This understanding suggests that although in modern times economic institutions and relations are the basis of the society economic development depends on socaial forces and dynamics. Accordingly, economic policies cannot be reduced to mere technical processes rather these policies are subjec to the influence of different interests and preferences. In this sense, the politics exists in every sphere of social relationships, that is, between different economic classes, social groups and as part of gender relation relations. Similarly, it is formed within the visions of good life which also constitutes the subject of philosophy, morality and religion and sometines takes artistic forms. The law then constitutes the summary of all relationships.
Therefore, the Conference while seeing the economy as the basis of social relationships does not reduce the society to market relationships. The society is considered as a political unity. Thus, anything can be the subject of politics. In that sense, these discourses which emphasise the need for purification from politics actually serve to hide power and interest inequalities within market relationships that are assumed to be a self-regulating entity. The conference sees the individual firstly as a political being before highlighting her/his economical character.
The conference attempts to understands our age/our world. The aim is to see its potentials not just to photograph it. Therefore, the Conference evaluates the development of modern society from a historical perspective, analyses long-term tendencies and dynamics, attempts to distinguish permanent and temporary. The Conference also tries to account for subjective social/political struggles within the framework of objective circumstances and tendencies. From an ethical point of view, the Conference adopts an understanding of science as analaysis than a mere description, develops a critical perspective to what is taken as given as well as exploring those potential alternatives which are thought to be ideal.
Although there is a distinctive theme in each conference, the Conference aims at developing a tradition of discussion and achieving a continuity from previous papers and debates.
The conference series have startad with the theme of “Adam Smith in Our Time”. In our first conference the legacy of Adam Smith as the founder of political economy was rethought with respect to his work in the spheres of political economy and moral theory. Some of the papers were on the left critique of classical political economy especially under the influence of global economic crisis. The crisis also determined the theme of following conferences, that is, “Crisis and Development” which took the crisis into account on the basis of not only with its financial dimension but also of all economic and non-economic aspects on the basis of a historical perspective and with respect to the changes in economic policies. “Labour markets and Employment” concerns with the relation between labour markets and employment in general, and tried to explain the question of unemployment which has risen dramatically under crisis conditions and in relation to changes in economic policies in particular.
In the last two conferences, we have had a chance to consider the main features of period of globalisation. In the fourth conference we wanted to acount for one of tendencies in the period of globalisation, that is, the ways in which the influence of flexibility is observed in different spheres including employment relationships, private life and even in personalities. The papers have revealed that the question of flexibility is taken into account in academic debates mainly in terms of its negative consequences in employment relationships. The Fifth Conference on “the Logic of Age” attempted to grasp the world of mentality of the age and focused on the logic of new right which has suggested to think in terms of the logic of market/corporations not only in the field of economics but also of politics and all social fields.
All conferences have mainly been hosted by Kocaeli University yet it would not be possible to organise conferences without other supporter institutions. The first conference was co-organised by Kocaeli University, Çanakkale 18 Mart University and Slezyan university (Czech Republic). In the second conference Westminister University (England) replaced Çanakkale University as the third partner and has become the main partner in the following conferences. Starting from the third conference IRES Piemonte Economic and Social Research Institute (Italy) has been one of the partner institutions. Ostrava Technical Universiry (Czech Republic) has joined the partnership in the fourth conference and Peru Ponifika Catholic University has become partner in the fifth conference. Central Bank of Turkey, TÜBİTAK, Petrol-İş and Kristal İŞ have kindly been other important supporters of the Conference.
Vivienne Brown and Tülin Öngen were academic opening speakers of the first conference. The speaker of the second conference was Erinç Yeldan. Fuat Ercan was the opening speaker of the third conference. Ali Hakan Kara was the the academic opening speaker of the fourth and Pierre Dardot was of the fifth conference. Among the guests of the Conference there were Hillel Ticktin, Richard Gunn, Micheal Perelman, Gerard Dumenil, Jamie Gough, Güneri Akalın, E. Ahmet Tonak, Sungur Savran, Paul Zarembka, Aijaz Ahmad, John Weeks, Berch Berberoğlu, Dorothy Noyes, Sadi Uzunoğlu, İzzettin Önder, Alfredo Saad Filho, Turan Yay, Ahmet Haşim Köse, Mehmet Türkay, Mustafa Sönmez, Levent Köker, Mike O'Donnell, Sohrab Behdad.
It would also be useful to provide some statistics regarding participants. In terms of gender distribution of participants; the participation rate of female participants has changed from 25 percent to 42 percent. Regarding the nationality of participants the proportion of foreign participants has been between 14 and 38 percent.
Within the process, the Conference has evolved from an occassion of debate among intellectuals to a stage of debate among students