Repoliticising capitalism: contradictions, critique and alternatives - Summerschool 2019

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 texts. As such, the course objective is to understand the varied historical effect of these theories on both the object of study and the discipline itself.


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, that are not conceptually possible if stricking to mainstream approaches. Through the employment of recent critiques, latter section of the course offers potential pathways towards different conceptualisations and alternatives to ‘the economy’ as we know it.



Catia Gregoratti (Lund University)

Jesper Jespersen

Mikkel Flohr

Bernd Bonfert

Jean-Claude Simon (Transform! Europe)

Laura Horn (course responsible, )





Course objective


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 workshop seminars, in which the participants discuss the theoretical, methodological and empirical issues raised in the lectures. There will also be opportunities for PhD 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 short written assignment on a question that will be handed out at the beginning of the course (same as the assignment for master level participant but with a higher quality of analysis expected). This assignment is due at the end of the course.

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 6 September 2019.



Please see the course programme here: 


The course is equivalent to 10 ECTS. 


Roskilde Universitet, hus 23.2 - Universitetsvej 1 - 4000 - Roskilde - 46743828