Nancy Fraser is Walter Benjamin Chair 2020
We are immensely pleased to announce that Nancy Fraser will serve as this year’s Benjamin Chair and give three lectures on the ecological crisis of capitalism under the general heading Climates of Capital.
Providing us with sharp analytical tools for connecting political, social and economic structures and struggles, Nancy Fraser’s work has been driven by a commitment to critically analyzing interacting layers of oppression and exploitation from the very beginning. Her early writings on struggles over needs and so-called ‘welfare dependency’ with a keen eye on androcentrism and state-managed capitalism made her into an eminent feminist thinker. In the 1990s and 2000s, she brought the critique of capitalism to a new level by conceptualizing the shift from post-war, state-centered capitalism to financialized capitalism. For Fraser it is never either class or status, redistribution or recognition but ‘both/and’ when she addresses questions of misrecognition, status hierarchy, ecology, and sexuality. In the last decade, Nancy Fraser, has developed a theoretical framework that focuses on the big questions surrounding the peculiar social form known as “capitalism,” upending many of our commonly held assumptions about what capitalism is and how to subject it to critique. Her new approach shows how, throughout its history, various regimes of capitalism have relied on a series of institutional separations between economy and polity, production and social reproduction, and human and non-human nature, periodically readjusting the boundaries between these domains in response to crises and upheavals. Tracing how these “boundary struggles” offer a key to understanding capitalism’s contradictions and the multiple forms of conflict to which it gives rise, she has managed to reconceptualize capitalism as an institutionalized social order – an order in crisis.