Next Workshop: The Political in Motion: Towards a Historicist Narrative of the Spanish Crash (Warwick)


The Center for Advanced International Theory (CAIT) and the Political Marxism Research Group are pleased to invite you to a presentation by Javier Moreno Zacarés (Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick), on ‘The Political in Motion: Towards a Historicist Narrative of the Spanish Crash’.

The talk will be held on Wednesday, 22 May, 11-1pm, Arundel 211 (Sussex).

Abstract: This papers offers a novel interpretation of the Spanish housing crash, the most extreme instance of a housing boom and bust in contemporary capitalism. Whereas mainstream approaches have explained this event by stressing the role of political ‘distortions’ to an otherwise perfect market economy (e.g. corruption), critical approaches have responded to this framing by removing political factors from their accounts altogether. Instead, critical approaches have tended to represent the Spanish crash as either the product of an external economic imbalance or as a generic outcome of the laws of motion of capital. By contrast, this paper draws on the tradition of political Marxism to reclaim the political away from neoliberal approaches and, in turn, to flesh out a critical narrative that is not based on structural laws of causation. The overall argument is that the Spanish crash is best understood through the historicity of two political processes: (1) the layering of a particular apparatus of residential provision to address a near-perennial housing deficit, and (2) the evolution of the clientelist nexus binding together the political class and the propertied classes. Stressing the specificity of the Spanish case, the paper traces the long trail of sedimented political agencies that have shaped the country’s property market from the nineteenth century to the crash of 2007-12.

Bio: Javier is an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study (Warwick). His research lies at an intersection between historical sociology and political economy, where he has developed two strands of research. The first strand explores the historical roots of the most recent economic crash in Spain. This is the focus of his doctoral thesis, ‘The Political in Political Economy: Historicising the Great Crisis of Spanish Residential Capitalism’, recently completed at the University of Warwick. The second strand of his research intervenes in the debate on the origins of capitalism, focusing on the Spanish case. This research has resulted in a recent peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Agrarian Change (2018), as well as in a book chapter in the edited volume Case Studies in the Origin of Capitalism (Routledge, 2018). Javier completed an MA in Global Political Economy at the University Sussex in 2013 and is a member of the Political Marxism Research Group.

The paper is available on request. Refreshments will be provided.