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Risk, Race and Financial Capitalism

Sat, November 9, 8:00 to 9:45am, Hawai'i Convention Center, Mtg Rm 308 A

Session Submission Type: Paper Session: Traditional Format


The past several years have seen a resurgence in the study of the intersection of race and capitalism. Building on Cedric Robinson’s foundational work on racial capitalism, this work has sought to further theorize and empirically study this intersection at the local, national and global level. Yet, more work is needed to study the intersection of race and capitalism explicitly in the context of this relatively new era of financialized capitalism. Central to financial capitalism is the concept of risk. The papers proposed for this panel address how risk is theoretically conceptualized, and acted on by corporate and state actors to reproduce and reshape patterns of racial inequality, racial hierarchies, and mechanisms of expropriation and exploitation in the 21st century. Empirically papers for this panel interrogate the relationship between racial subordination and marginalization and the deployment of risk at the local level in the context of municipal fiscal crisis; at the national level by examining how capitalists have been able to profit off the risk taken by the less fortunate while “devolving risk” to ever more marginalized communities; and, at the global level how multinational corporations use racialized understandings of risk to justify massive levels of expropriation that reproduce and intensify a global racial order. Theoretically, the concept of race is shown to be a construct that has been stripped of a history of racial oppression and expropriation and is itself a key component that works to maintain racial economic injustice. Collectively, these papers contribute to the discussion of how to understand racial capitalism in the era of financial capitalism.

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