International Conference 2021




This online event requires registration. There is no participation fee for taking part in the conference. After you register, we will send you the final programme and all the Zoom links where the event will take place. Only registered users will be able to access the links. You can register for the conference here


Conference Dates: 20-22 May 2021
Venue: Online & Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Keynote Speakers:
Dorothee Bohle
 (European University Institute, Florence)
Jonathan Hopkin 
(London School of Economics)
Costas Lapavitsas
 (SOAS University of London)

In 1909 Karl Polanyi defended his PhD in Cluj/Kolozsvár and went on to become one of the century’s canonical thinkers in political economy. The intellectual milieus of the Austro-Hungarian Empire produced the century’s seminal debates in social science in general and political economy in particular, and Polanyi, raised in this milieu, became an iconic figure in the interdisciplinary study of market-society relations. Meanwhile, some of the societies of Polanyi’s formative years experienced the century’s most dramatic upheavals, from revolution to reaction, from capitalism to socialism and back to capitalism. Today, some of these lands are at the heart of emerging nationalist, neoliberal and illiberal hybrid that sprung from the crisis of global capitalism, even as these countries have recorded very high growth rates and increasing global competitiveness.

Thirty years after the end of real existing socialism, we get together in the city of Polanyi’s terminal PhD period to reflect on two themes inspired by his work : (1) the promises, structural limits and crisis mechanisms of the capitalist mosaic that emerged in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans and (2) the alternative political projects that could address market-society relations given the growing global inequalities and the harrowingly extensive environmental degradation that puts at risk the well-being of present and future generations.

Our approach can be termed as a form of engaged scholarship. It departs from the twin observation that in no other part of Europe have there been more radical and entrenched offensives to attain what Polanyi termed “the market society” as in CEE and the Western Balkans and the political, demographic and environmental limits of this transformation have nearly been reached. Our aim is to confront this situation by building a network of engaged and critically minded scholars, policy makers, artists, activists whose work can illuminate the mechanisms, discourses, subjectivities and resources of the political and economic status quo in order to supply the informed imagination of how to overcome contemporary problems in inclusive, emancipating and green directions.

Conveners: The conference is organized by the Institute for Social Solidarity (ISS) and the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work of the Babeș-Bolyai University. The Institute for Social Solidarity is a non-profit organization networking scholars motivated by the desire to generate scientific expertise in order to promote public policies addressing the severe social inequalities, material deprivation, poverty and environmental degradation generated by the neoliberal transformations of the last 30 years.

Venue: The conference will take place entirly online. Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Cluj is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city from Transylvania. It is one of the most developed economic and commercial centers in Romania with booming IT, financial and communication industries. It is also a strongly gentrified city with deep social inequalities and racialized peripheries. The city is well connected to the main cities of Europe through railway and an international airport that also operates low-costs flights. The Organizing Committee will provide assistance and suggestions to all participants for affordable hotels and hostels during the conference. We look forward to welcoming you in Transylvania!

Scientific Committee: Daniela Gabor (UWE Bristol, UK), Cornel Ban (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark), Manuela Boatcă (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany), Veronica Lazăr (Institute for Social Solidarity, Romania), Enikő Vincze (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Valer Cosma (The County Museum of History and Art Zalău, Romania), Gabriel Bădescu (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Cristina Raț (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Dragoș Adăscăliței (Sheffield University Management School, UK), Gabriel Troc (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Camil Ungureanu (Pompeu Fabra University, Spain)

Organizing Committe: Maria Cernat (Institute for Social Solidarity), Mihai Vasile (Institute for Social Solidarity), Camil Pârvu (Institute for Social Solidarity), Sorin Gog (Institute for Social Solidarity), Ciprian Bogdan (Institute for Social Solidarity), Valentina Dimulescu (Institute for Social Solidarity), Andrei Herța (Institute for Social Solidarity), Andreea Țoiu (FSAS), Diana Tamaș (FSAS), Delia Cosma (FSAS), Sara Budrala (FSAS), Alina Ghihăniș (FSAS), Ștefan Alexandru Ghib (FSAS), Nădejde Galamaga (FSAS), Gheorghe Nagy (FSAS).

For any inquires please contact:
Sorin Gog (Institute for Social Solidarity and Babeș-Bolyai University), e-mail: