17th December 2013

Marketization: Special Issue of Studies in Contemporary History

Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History is a peer-reviewed journal, presenting research results, debates and methodological issues of German, European and global contemporary history. It is supported by the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung/Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam <www.zzf-pdm.de> and appears three times a year in two publication formats: printed by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht <www.v-r.de/de/Zeithistorische-Forschungen/z/500055/> and as full text open access on the internet <www.zeithistorische-forschungen.de>. For 2015, we plan a special issue on the research area of ‘marketization’, and we invite authors to submit proposals. This special issue will be edited by Ralf Ahrens (Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam), Marcus Böick (Ruhr University Bochum) and Marcel vom Lehn (Friedrich Schiller University Jena).

At least since the beginning of the international financial crisis in 2008, the general public has been torn between anxiety about the ‘economization’ of work relationships, social security or educational systems, and criticism of an apparently unmanageable, globalized ‘financial-market capitalism’. Diagnoses of today’s world from social and cultural studies frequently declare the ‘neo-liberal’ economic turns of the 1970s and 1980s as the origin of this increased market orientation of social relationships. However, they take only marginal interest in the specific historical constellations, agents, and practices. Contemporary history for its part – experiencing an increased interest in economic and social issues recently – has hardly turned to such developments so far.

Dedicated to the concept of ‘marketization’, which is common in social and economic studies, our special issue intends to collect empirical case studies that analyze discourse and practices in politics, administration, the economy and enterprises, the welfare state and the health care system, educational, cultural, and environmental institutions or the non-profit sector. In the contributions, the term ‘marketization’ has to be scrutinized for its historical significance and its heuristic alternatives; yet, ‘marketization’ as an open, processual term implies more than ‘denationalization’ or ‘privatization’. Markets beyond economic models and theories are always socially constructed and politically regulated; they co-exist and compete with other organizational forms of social relationships. Instead of dwelling on the simple dichotomy between ‘market’ and ‘state’, this wider perspective allows a shift in the focus towards a heterogeneous, relational arrangement of agents, ideas, and practices. The outline, propagation and implementation of market-oriented control mechanisms, just like the criticism thereof, emanated from specific historical circumstances and interests. Although the special issue’s temporal focus is put on the 1970s until the 2000s, the discourse should also include a discussion of the epochal threshold ‘after the boom’ in comparison to alternative periodizations. In particular, we encourage comparative or transnational studies – also on the transformation regimes of Eastern and eastern Central Europe as well as on non-European developments.

Possible topics for the contributions could be:

– What market-related patterns of reception and interpretation were propagated or even internalized by what agents or their networks and when (‘the enterprising self’, etc.)?
– What presuppositions and expectations were characteristic for these concepts of interpretation and categorization? What, for example, was understood by ‘the market’ or ‘the markets’ at a particular time?
– Who attempted to facilitate and/or to impede the development of market mechanisms? What methods were applied to those processes?
– Which parts of society were the preferred objects of the market-related discourse and practices?
– What results, conflicts, and contradictions emerged by the practical attempts to implement marketization? Which alternate concepts and tendencies gained importance?
– What regional and national differences and similarities of marketization trends can be identified?
– What relationship between marketization and democracy/democratization, between economic power and political legitimization can be found?

The special issue will contain four to five longer articles, totaling around 50,000 characters (including blanks and annotations). In addition, several shorter texts of various genres will be included: essays, controversial contributions to the discourse, interpretations of selected sources, and contributions for ‘Reread’, ‘Reheard’, ‘Reseen’. For these sections of Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History, please visit the previous contributions at <www.zeithistorische-forschungen.de/site/40208547/default.aspx>. The guidelines for authors can be found at <www.zeithistorische-forschungen.de/site/40208125/default.aspx>. We welcome all submissions adequate for the issue’s topic for all sections of the journal.

Please send your informative draft containing around 500 words to Jan-Holger Kirsch (kirsch@zzf-pdm.de) byJanuary 31, 2014.

See here for more information