Capitalism and Insecure Positions of Minorities

Call for Papers, deadline 30 May 2024

Gießen (Germany), 4-5 November 2024

We are looking for abstracts for a 15- to 20-minute presentation in the field of social theory. The workshop deals with seeing racism, anti-Semitism, and antigypsyism through the lens of materialist critique.

Theorizations of social marginalization and exclusion place minorities in a position of insecurity in two respects: On the one hand, the actual insecurity of their positions in society is a starting point for research and a phenomenon to be explained. On the other hand, minorities are also insecurely situated within the theories used in social sciences. The workshop will focus on theoretical approaches that analyze racism, anti-Semitism, and antigypsyism against the background of capitalist dynamics. Such approaches are strong in that they explain the insecure positions of minorities in the context of material, social structures rather than attributing them solely to prejudice. They show how the ideological localization of minorities in specific positions within capitalist society, for example as “exploitable blacks”, “backward Muslims”, “money-grubbing Jews” or “begging gypsies”, legitimizes the fact that people are exposed to the pressures of expanding capitalist value on unequal terms. Yet what is striking about current capitalism-critical theorizing on anti-Semitism, racism, and antigypsyism is that the analyses of the different ideologies are largely detached from one another, they become blind to the other ideologies, or even reproduce them. It is all too easy to overlook the fact that members of all minorities can find themselves in precarious and insecure social positions.
The workshop aims at generating a constructive counter-dynamic by providing a forum for discussion on how different theories of marginalization and exclusion of minorities that are critical of capitalism can enrich each other. In order to do justice to anti-Semitism, racism, and antigypsyism as specific forms of domination and ideology, they need to be examined separately. At the same time, however, it is also necessary to look at them together in order to work out their differences and relate them to capitalism. Therefore, the project is complex. All the more reason for the three fields of research to reflect on each other's methodological premises and findings.
However, the epistemological potential of such mutual enrichment has hardly been exploited to date. In most contributions on Racial Capitalism, which focus on concrete social hierarchies and their effects on the material living conditions of racialized people, the topic of anti-Semitism does not appear. In some cases, simplified explanations of Racial Capitalism even make use of anti-Semitic stereotypes. There are also anti-Semitism researchers who, following early critical theory of the Frankfurt School, for example, attempt to understand their subject matter as a ramification of the capitalist form of society, and attribute it to a misguided, personalized critique of capitalism. This often leaves social inequality along racialized lines underexposed. In the shadow of these discussions is the relatively new field of materialist antigypsyism research. In German-speaking research contexts, perspectives from both the subject-theoretical analysis of anti-Semitism and Marx's critique of capitalism have been incorporated here. Such theories of antigypsyism complement anthropological and prejudice-related approaches, but have so far been little developed.
The workshop aims at exploring ways in which capitalist forms of accumulation and subjectivation can be taken into account in order to adequately theorize the particularities of anti-Semitism, racism, and antigypsyism.

We are looking for contributions that address one or more of the following questions or related topics:
1) In what ways can materialist approaches to the critique of racism, antigypsyism, or anti-Semitism enrich each other? Where does a joint approach have its limits?
2) Is the concept of Racial Capitalism suitable for approaching the phenomena of anti-Semitism and antigypsyism? Where are possible points of contact?
3) How is the use of antisemitic stereotypes in theories of Racial Capitalism to be explained?
4) How can we mediate the claim of materialist theory to precise conceptual work and a critique of ideology with other types of theory that are concerned with hierarchies between social groups?
5) How can the strengths of different theoretical strands in research on anti-Semitism and racism be productively combined as part of a materialist analysis of antigypsyism?
6) To what extent does a perspective critical of capitalism allow us to show that the various ideologies directed against social minorities are complementary to one another?

Please send abstracts in German or English with a maximum of 400 words for a 15- to 20-minute presentation by May 30, 2024. We will notify the applicants about the status of their submission by June 30, 2024. The lectures and discussions will be held in German or English. Travel and accommodation costs for speakers can be partially covered.

Ulrike Marz, Lukas Egger, Christine Achinger, Floris Biskamp, Randi Becker, and Tobias Neuburger have already confirmed their participation at the workshop.


Anna-Sophie Schönfelder ( und Dr. Laura Soréna Tittel (