Repoliticising capitalism: contradictions, critique and alternatives 27 July – 7 August 2020

As of 4th of June, it has not been confirmed whether the course can take place on the RUC campus, or whether it will be moved fully online. An update on the situation will hopefully be available by mid-June; registered and prospective participants are welcome to check with the course administrator ( In any case, the possibility to participate online will be made available to all participants.

This summer school brings together a faculty of international scholars and staff from Roskilde University for an in-depth course on heterodox and critical political economic perspectives. It offers a unique opportunity to directly engage with original economic texts/source material and to explore core dimensions of the critique of (neo)classical economic theory and contemporary perspectives on global capitalism. The focus of the course is explicitly pluralist, encouraging students to widen their horizon for critical thinking and methodological reflection.


Modern mainstream economic theory is based on highly political assumptions, which are rarely challenged: dogmas of deregulation, mathematical models and austerity are treated as objective scientific facts, rather than ideological tools with a social and political history of their own. This course aims to repoliticize the study of economics and challenge the hegemony of neoclassical economic theory. This will be accomplished through a historical examination of the development of economic thought, and critical engagement with original economic and political economy texts. As such, the course objective is to understand the varied historical effect of these theories on both the object of study and academic discussions.   


The first part of the course “Economic Thought from Oikos to Economics” traces the history of economic ideas with an emphasis on critical and heterodox approaches. The individual sessions will introduce students to carefully selected primary literature from classical, critical and heterodox strands of economic thought. The objective is to understand the varied historical effect of these theories on both the object of study and the discipline itself. This will provide the foundation for further elaboration on contemporary issues such as debt, unemployment, inequality, and growth.


The second part of the course “Contemporary Challenges, Critiques and Alternatives” addresses present and pressing issues, through the lens of critical and heterodox political economy. This theoretical and applied pluralism will provide insights on issues such as e.g. the development crisis, financialisation, austerity politics and climate change, digital capitalism, that are not conceptually possible if sticking to mainstream approaches. Through the employment of recent critiques, the latter section of the course offers potential pathways towards different conceptualisations and alternatives to ‘the economy’ as we know it.





Catia Gregoratti (Lund)

Jesper Jespersen (RUC)

Lotte Cooiman (RUC)

Mikkel Flohr (RUC)

Jean-Claude Simon (Transform! Europe)

Laura Horn (RUC, course convenor, )





Learning outcomes


The course objective is to

  • introduce students to carefully selected primary literature from classical, critical and heterodox strands of economic thought
  • provide students with a thorough understanding of core concepts and debates in critical political economy
  • enable students to apply core theoretical and methodological aspects of heterodox perspectives to a given case-based event or process
  • encourage students to critically reflect on contemporary dynamics and developments in the global economy
  • address key methodological challenges linking theory and empirical research for critical analyses.


Course format

The course takes place over a two week period and comprises a range of activities. Each half-day session consists of an interactive lecture of 1 ½ hrs, and a workshop of 1 ½ hrs.

The lectures will present a variety of critical approaches, drawing on the readings and the lecturers’ own work. The core element of the summer school is active learning-oriented seminars, in which the participants discuss the theoretical, methodological and empirical issues raised in the lectures. There will also be opportunities for participants to present their own work to the group. Self-study periods, facilitated by the enabling learning environment Roskilde university campus provides, which offer an opportunity for students to improve their knowledge and understanding.


Assessment for PhD participants (10 ECTS)



  • The basic requirement of the course is active participation in the sessions, including presentation in a group.
  • Attendance at all sessions for PhD participants is mandatory.
  • PhD participants are expected to engage with all the readings listed in the individual sessions, that includes required as well as recommended readings.


Output - Two assignments.


  • The first assignment is a written assignment on a question that will be handed out at the beginning of the course (aka ‘the newspaper assignment’, see above). This assignment is due on Wednesday 12 August, to be emailed to
  • The second assignment is a critical review essay on a selection of course readings. Taking as point of departure your own PhD focus, you are expected to choose at least 400 pages (ca 15 articles/chapters) from the course syllabus, complemented with a similar amount of literature from your own area. The focus of the review essay should be an engagement with the ‘Repoliticising Capitalism’ theme of the course, that is how the dynamics of contradictions, critique and/or alternatives are relevant to your own research. In the essay, you should position your project clearly and critically in the literature. This assignment should be around 12-15 pages (ca 30.000 characters incl spaces) and is due on Monday 7 September 2020.

Roskilde Universitet - Universitetsvej 1 - 4000 - Roskilde