UCD Equality Studies Centre - Critical Political Economy Research Cluster

This research cluster focuses on questions of local and global political economy, engaging primarily at a critical and theoretical level. It brings together researchers working across a diverse range of disciplines, theoretical approaches and research areas. We offer a dedicated space for collective and collaborative reflection on and discussion of theoretical work on political economy, with a particular focus on the interactions between processes of capital accumulation and cultural and social processes more generally. We also seek to place questions of antagonism at the heart of our discussions and projects, specifically the manifold conflicts between social reproduction and capital accumulation that characterize the contemporary world.   As such, questions of practical, structural, institutional and ideological power will be central the cluster’s investigations and analyses. While the cluster is primarily intended for those working on political economic theory, it is also open to researchers engaged in empirical work but wishing to share and develop the more theoretical aspects of their research.

 

As well as fostering discussion and collaboration, the cluster hosts regular seminars and organises reading groups and conferences. We welcome participation from researchers in any field.

 

The Critical Political Economy is coordinated by Marie Moran and Michael Byrne of the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, UCD.

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Dr Paul Jones of the University of Liverpool will be launching the new Critical Political Economy Research Cluster with a special lecture on Tuesday 24th May at 4 PM in A201, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington Building, University College Dublin. The talk is entitled: A Political-Economy of Urban Visualisations: 'Architecture' and Capitalist Futures

Abstract:

How are urban capitalist projects articulated and made meaningful? Architectural models are representational forms that can be used in such a way as to make visions of capitalist futures more resonant. This paper explores the additional force afforded by the deployment of digital architectural models to the Liverpool Waters project, a planned £5.5bn development of that city’s waterfront. Analysing the models as interpretive representations whose practical use generates context and rationale for the project, the argument is that models allow for:

i) visual connections to be forged between Liverpool and waterfront ‘global cities’ elsewhere;#

ii) a foregrounding of the dramatic scale and character of the transformation proposed by the project (including via a problematisation of the site’s present uses);

and iii) a basis for other sets of claims concerning Liverpool Waters to cohere, as illustrated by the public consultation exercises in which models became presentational devices allowing for the visualisation of social claims concerning the development.

Accordingly, architectural models are here to be understood as consequential in their effect, with the display and presentation of models allowing for the co-ordination and integration of other, otherwise disparate, economic claims concerning the future. Precisely due to the other types of mobilisations that such modelling makes possible, critical research must engage with the interpretative frames that architectural models seek to establish and exploit.