1st Edition

Capitalism, Institutions and Social Orders
The Case of Contemporary Spain

ISBN 9780367480660
Published November 25, 2020 by Routledge
250 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Capitalism, Institutions and Social Orders develops a novel political economy approach by establishing a dialogue between the Social Structures of Accumulation (SSA) theory and Ernesto Laclau’s post-Marxism theory. Using this synthesis, it provides an in-depth analysis of Spain’s recent socio-economic evolution since the early 1990s.

The book develops a theoretical framework capable of appraising capitalist dynamics together with their relationship to the institutional environment surrounding and structuring them. This is in order to explore the interrelation between the historical development of the capitalist mode of production, on the one hand, and the various co-existing social processes, social consensuses and political identities, on the other. Contemporary Spain provides an interesting case study: until the onset of the Great Recession, Spain had an impressive macroeconomic record supported by several contradictory social processes, such as a massive real estate bubble, an upsurge in private indebtedness and a deteriorating manufacturing sector. However, the accumulation of internal imbalances during those years led inevitably to the sudden disintegration of this institutional and social environment in the years after 2008, thus resulting into a breakdown of capitalist activity accompanied by widespread social contestation. The book also explores the ensuing political scenario, including the emergence of the ‘indignados’ movement and the anti-austerity party Podemos.

This work is of significant interest to critical political economy and discourse-theory scholars, critical theorists in general, and social scientists concerned with the recent Spanish experience.

Table of Contents

Part I. Capitalism, Institutions and Social Orders

1. Dancing over the ‘middle ground’

2. Setting the terrain. Radical Political Economy and post-Marxism

3. Ernesto Laclau’s post-Marxism. Some internal problems

4. Social Structures of Accumulation Theory. A re-assessment

5. Social orders and capitalism. Towards an expanded SSA approach

6. Grounding Populism upon Political Economy

Part II. The Case of Contemporary Spain

7. The Spanish ‘Mediterranean’ Liberal SSA. A Characterization

8. The ‘Mediterranean’ Liberal SSA’s expansion phase: 1995-2008 

9. From systemic to organic crisis. 2008-2019

Concluding Comments

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Pedro M. Rey-Araújo is a Researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


"[T]he book is a key contribution on both the SSA and PDT scholarships as well as on the political economy of contemporary Spain. Rey-Araujo has written an excellent book which will influence future research in these fields." - Joan Miró, Capital & Class

"[This book] rigorously vindicates a radical political economy of/for (re)conciliation between Marxism and post-structuralist discourse theory, in order to comprehend the frictional mechanisms of socioeconomic reproduction and sociopolitical interactions. This is a sensible theoretical framework for capturing the complexity of capitalist societies as actually existing formations which are institutionalized and embodied, just as the author shows through the case study of Spain’s contemporary socio-economic evolution. Furthermore, it is also a proposal of great value to many other fields of study beyond the strictly economic, as well as to those political economy approaches that remain skeptical to the ‘cultural turn’ in critical social sciences." - Laura Martínez-Jiménez, Journal of Cultural Economy