CfP: Capitalism, Crisis and Covid: Agrarian Political Economy in Disrupted Circuits of Capital and Labour

Call for papers, deadline 19 June 2020

The Journal of Agrarian Change seeks contributions to a symposium on Capitalism, Crisis and Covid: Agrarian Political Economy in Disrupted Circuits of Capital and Labour

Covid-19 is re-configuring the global capitalist system. It has disrupted the functioning of capitalism in unprecedented ways. The flow of commodities has slowed dramatically, and labour has experienced a mass loss of work. 

The symposium is concerned with Covid-19, capitalism and crisis in relation to agrarian and rural settings - while recognising that the urban and rural are not neatly segregated but bound together by the flow of commodities, labour and capital. We invite contributions relating to the unfolding impacts of Covid-19: the disruption of existing global supply chains, the impacts on trade, the re-dividing of reproductive labour, and the loss of livelihoods of rural populations in agriculture and as migrant and commuting labour, to name but a few. We also ask contributors to assess its implications for the future, including the changing role of institutions like the state, the ways in which recovery programmes may re-configure economies, new developments within and of capitalism, and struggles for forms of socialism and democracy that re-cast social and ecological relations.

While the compression of time and space, so characteristic of capitalism in recent decades, may have fostered the rapid global spread of Covid-19, responses to the pandemic are now lengthening time and increasing distance. Supply chains have been strained by quarantining and morbidity in production processes and by a surge in logistics costs. Some countries stock-pile grains while food importers search for solutions to food insecurity. While the crisis may lead to greater centralisation of food and agricultural industries, there are widespread calls for more localised circuits of production, distribution and consumption, along with critiques of the corporate food regime. But do these map out viable routes to change that take into account the implications for labour and poor consumers throughout global supply chains? If more localised circuits are developed, will those drawn into them benefit equally, and what will happen to those who are wholly or partially excluded from them?

While Covid-19 is in many ways unprecedented, to what extent do responses resemble those of earlier capitalist crises? The impacts of Covid-19 are differentiated by class, gender, ethnicity and race, and rendered uneven by how places connect to the world-historical flow of people, commodities and capital, as well as the responsiveness of their governments (neoliberal or otherwise). To what extent has the mass loss of jobs led to changes in rural class and gender relations, as seasonal migrants and commuters find themselves staying in the countryside? And how have related changes in the broader process of social reproduction effected rural households?

We welcome proposals for contributions on these and other aspects. 

  • Contributions should be 3500-5000 words long.
  • Please submit abstracts of 150-200 words by Friday 19thof June to:
  • Selected authors will be informed by Friday the 3rd of July.
  • Papers should be submitted by Friday 18th September 2020.
  • The symposium will be published in the Spring of 2021