Call for Papers

Allied Social Science Association Annual Meeting
Boston, MA, January 3-5, 2015

THEME: Commodities, Commodification and Alternatives to Exchange

In his 1944 book, The Great Transformation, Karl Polanyi explored how the expansion of markets and the commodification of land and labor had transformed human relations, separating the economy from the rest of social life. He also asserted that resistance to commodification was as natural as commodification was planned. Seventy years after publication of this landmark work, what have social economists learned about the processes of commodification and decommodification? How should we augment or amend Polanyi’s analysis in the wake of the dismantling of social welfare states and the rise of neoliberalism?

For the ASE sessions at the 2015 ASSA meetings we welcome proposals for papers on all aspects of social economics, especially those dealing with the process of and limits to commodification. Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • What ethical principles guide the exchange of commodities?
  • What, if any, ethical principles are slighted?hat can be learned from case studies or deep analysis of specific commodities?
  • How do other processes besides the exchange of commodities play a role in provisioning and in the development of human capabilities? Specifically, what role do self-provisioning, transfers, gifts, and/or indebtedness continue to play in our economic lives?
  • How do alternatives to exchange complicate our understanding of the motivations involved in economic behavior—including exchange behavior?
  • Are there limits to commodification of spheres of human interaction? Should there be?
  • How have people resisted commodification (of labor, land and natural resources, caring, etc.) through collective behavior?
  • What are the implications of expanding commodification on the natural environment, social and cultural life, or psychological functioning?

To submit a paper or a session, please go to the proposal submission area of the ASE website (under Conferences > ASSA > Proposal submissions). Proposals should include a 250-word abstract, all authors’ names and institutional affiliations, and contact info for the corresponding author including email address. Proposals for complete sessions are also welcome. Submission deadline is April 15, 2014. 

Individuals whose papers are accepted for presentation must either be or become members of the Association for Social Economics by July 1, 2014, in order for the paper to be included in the program.  Membership information can be found at

All papers presented at the ASSA meetings are eligible for the Warren Samuels Prize, awarded to the best paper that advances the goals of social economics and has widespread appeal. Papers can also be considered for a special issue of the Forum for Social Economics. Details of these opportunities will be sent to authors of accepted papers.