Manifestos for our Times
Book Launch on Neoliberalism: Key Concepts

Symposium: “Disaster Capitalism”

by Adam David Morton on October 13, 2017

Symposium: “Disaster Capitalism”

Submissions Due: January 15, 2018

Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice issue 30 (2): Disaster Capitalism

How does power profit from disaster? How can resistance make change? This issue of Peace Review will focus on exploring the varied definitions, interpretations, and implications of disaster capitalism from a wide range of perspectives. From environmental catastrophe, natural disasters and coup d’etats to wars, financial crises, and large-scale events (jamborees, the Olympics, etc.), we seek essays on how capitalist and neoliberal politics and policies have been augmented, disrupted, justified, or made visible by “disaster” in its broadest application over time and space.

It has been a decade since Naomi Klein published The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In the spirit of that work, we  seek contributions that travel the world to portray how governments, regimes, supranational institutions (EU, NATO, IMF, etc.), private companies, and other actors take advantage of extraordinary circumstances. They do so in order to implement economic, social, environmental or political systems in human and post-human contexts and almost always to the detriment of the many and the most vulnerable. In thinking about “disaster” capitalism, we are also particularly open to developments and challenges of that term, as, for example, Jules Boykoff did in coining “celebration capitalism” as a mode of understanding the special conditions that surrounded hosting the 2016 Rio Olympics.

We are also particularly keen on submissions that trace the multidisciplinary origins of disaster capitalism from economics and political science to literature and film, as well as submissions that explore the term and its implications in historical context. The contributors will ideally explore the nuances of the development of capitalism through the lens of any extraordinary circumstances that have brought about significant change. How do corporations and  governments exploit disaster or other unprecedented  situations? What motivations are in play? What is the societal impact of such developments? How are political, climate, and security shocks connected to collective trauma? To what extent is recovery or resistance possible? How long can disaster last, and to what extent are we already living in an ongoing state of emergency? By drawing on the long  history of individual, corporate, and gubernatorial profiting from natural and manmade disasters all over the world, this issue seeks essays that trace the intricacies of capitalism in its pivotal  moments.

General themes that contributors can address in their essays include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • using disasters or other extraordinary circumstances to justify human rights abuses
  • disaster capitalism as it relates to climate impact, animal rights violations, and damage to the natural world
  • community-level impact of governmental and supranational policies
  • representations of disaster capitalism in film (documentary and narrative) and literature (fiction and nonfiction)
  • solidarity movements against (disaster) capitalism
  • on-the-ground experience of disaster capitalism and its impact
  • corporate and public Western profiteering during moments of instability in Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe
  • the hunger for visual representations of disaster, especially in the news media, and its implications
  • the refugee crisis in central Africa, central America and the Middle East, and the emergence of climate refugees
  • the role of climate change in wars
  • the rise of authoritarianism and the exploitation of the politics of fear
  • different brands of populism and the crisis conditions that brought them about
  • ways in which disaster capitalism coexists and feeds into authoritarianism
  • the militarization of the U.S. after 9/11
  • the emergence of survivalism among affluent tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley
  • the power of popular will to produce radical change
  • the aftermath of disaster capitalism

Academics, activists, and practitioners are encouraged to submit essays that appeal to a wide readership. All submissions should be between 2,500-3,500 words together with a 1-2 line bio. Essays should be jargon- and footnote-free, although we will run Recommended Readings in the issue. Please refer to the submission guidelines for authors, HERE:

Please direct content-based questions or concerns to the Guest Editors, Tom Winterbottom ( and Elena Dancu (

Send essays to to the attention of Robert Elias (Editor in Chief) & Shawn Doubiago (Managing Editor), with a subject line of “Disaster Capitalism”.

Adam David Morton
Adam David Morton is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He is author of Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy (2007); Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (2011), recipient of the 2012 Book Prize of the British International Studies Association (BISA) International Political Economy Group (IPEG); and co-author of Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis (2018) with Andreas Bieler. He co-edits Progress in Political Economy (PPE) with Gareth Bryant that was the recipient of the 2017 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for the Best Blog (Group) and the 2018 International Studies Association (ISA) Online Media Caucus Award for Special Achievement in International Studies Online Media.

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