Karl Polanyi's Political and Economic Thought

A Critical Guide

Edited by Gareth Dale, Christopher Holmes, Maria Markantonatou

£65.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788210898
£20.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788210904
£20.99  |  $30.00
ISBN 9781788210911
240 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  25 July 2019


"This ‘critical guide’ is a must read volume ... an illuminating dialogue between the central ideas in Polanyi’s work and the best in current scholarship."  – Fred Block, University of California, Davis

"This is an absolutely terrific volume that will surely make a significant mark on the literature as discussions about Polanyi continue to evolve in the future. The contributors have done a wonderful job inspiring their readers to think even more deeply about what Polanyian scholarship has to offer to our attempts to understand the contemporary world." – Matthew Watson, University of Warwick


The work of Karl Polanyi has become a central reference point for scholars in a variety of traditions and disciplines within the social sciences, including international relations, international political economy, economic sociology and economic anthropology. This book offers a comprehensive introduction to Polanyi’s political and economic thought by examining the key themes that run throughout it: economic ideas, commodification, money, the gold standard, geopolitical economy, the state, class, fascism, democracy and knowledge.

Each chapter introduces the relevant aspects of Polanyi’s writings, covering important terminology and the position of the theme in relation to his work more broadly. The contributions seek to engage critically with Polanyi’s ideas, analysing both the strengths and weaknesses, as well as highlighting continuing points of relevance to contemporary issues and debates.

The book celebrates the diversity of Polanyi’s political and economic thought whilst encouraging the reader to see it as a whole and not as a set of fragmented concepts. It is an ideal introduction for students engaging with Polanyi’s work for the first time.


Christopher Holmes

1. Economic Ideas
Christopher Holmes and David Yarrow, University of Warwick

2. International Political Economy
Randall Germain, Carleton University, Canada

3. The State
Maria Markantonatou and Gareth Dale

4. Class
Sandra Halperin, Royal Holloway, London

5. The Gold Standard
Samuel Knafo, University of Sussex

6. Money
Kurtulus Gemici, National University of Singapore

7. Commodification
Hüseyin Özel, Hacettepe University, Turkey

8. Fascism
Gareth Dale and Mathieu Desan, University of Colorado, Boulder

9. Democracy
Paula Valderrama, Freie Universität Berlin

10. Knowledge
Tilman Reitz, Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena

Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley

Author Information

Gareth Dale is senior lecturer in politics at Brunel University. His books include Reconstructing Karl Polanyi (2016) and Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left (2016).

Christopher Holmes is lecturer in international political economy at King's College London. He is the author of Polanyi in Times of Populism: Vision and Contradiction in the History of Economic Ideas (2018).

Maria Markantonatou is assistant professor of political sociology at the University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece.

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