Book on emotions and capitalism wins transdisciplinary award


Susan Anderson

Modern critiques of capitalism accuse it of being a relentlessly rational structure that disrupts social bonds through its imposed utilitarianism. However, what if capitalism is not a cold monster, but is in fact a form of secular spirituality, deeply intertwined within emotional networks?

Martijn Konings, a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, makes such an argument in his new book "The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives Have Missed."

At 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Konings will give a book talk during the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) Humanities Faculty Authors Reception in Hayden Library on the Tempe campus.

Konings’ deft use of economic theory combined with humanistic scholarship earned his book this year’s IHR Transdisciplinary Humanities Book Award. The Institute for Humanities Research presents this award every year for a non-fiction work that exemplifies transdisciplinary, socially engaged humanities-based scholarship.

Konings, a political economist, moves beyond traditional Marxist critiques of capitalism by employing humanistic scholarship, drawing on the works of theorists such as Bruno Latour, Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. By applying humanistic perspectives, he is able to challenge the traditional perception of capitalism as a rational monster, devoid of emotion or social roots, and instead reveals its deep emotional and theological underpinnings.