Dr Owen Worth (Department of Politics and Public Administration) recently attended the Historical Materialism conference held at the American University in Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon, funded by the Faculty of AHSS Research Board.
He chaired a panel on ‘Beirut-style Capitalism’, which featured scholars from the fields of Political Economy and Cultural Studies delivering papers on the unique system of capitalism within the city. It also discussed the 2016 protests in the city, which provided a unique non-sectarian set of campaigns against municipal privatisation and which gained considerable international attention.
Dr Worth presented a paper entitled ‘The Essence of Neoliberal Hegemony: Consent, Cohesion and Semi-Peripheral Society’, which looked to build on his work on the theory of global hegemony which was covered in his 2015 Palgrave book ‘Rethinking Hegemony’. In this, he argued that little attention is given to uneven ‘semi-peripheral’ societies within the global political economy in terms of their reproduction of social relations. These areas are marked by their instabilities and are formed by competing class and ethnic relations that are not susceptible to the more orthodox understandings of consent and coercion that facilitate the theory of hegemony. The conference provided a useful opportunity to develop research networks within Beirut and beyond and provide a platform to enrich the diverse studies of international and cultural political economy.