Gareth Dale

This post begins with an abstract of the article by Gareth Dale “Karl Polanyi in Budapest: on his political and intellectual formation” European Journal of Sociology, Volume 50 Issue 1, April 2009, pp 97 – 130.

Gareth Dale is currently at Brunel University, London. see his list of publications on Karl Polanyi. He is one of the new generation of researchers on Karl Polanyi and ordoliberalism in contrast to neoliberalism. His work continues and takes further the work of Fred Block and Margaret Somers, specifically relating to modern neoliberalism and the ever more intensive boom-slump cycles of the times we live in, the products of Reaganomics and Thatcherism.

Gareth Dale worked at Birkbeck College, the London School of Economics and Swansea University before joining Brunel in 2005. He is currently completing an intellectual biography of Karl Polanyi, for The University of Michigan Press, and an edited collection of Polanyi’s Hungarian writings, for Continuum. His previous books include ‘First the Transition, Then the Crash: Eastern Europe in the 2000s’ (2011), ‘Karl Polanyi: The Limits of the Market’ (2010), a trilogy on East German political and economic history (2004-2007), and ‘The European Union and Migrant Labour’ (1999). His work has appeared in Chinese, Portuguese and German.

Gareth supervises PhD’s in a range of fields. His current doctoral students are working on environmental political theory, the geopolitics of the Arctic, Hungarian political economy, the New Institutional Economic History, and the EU’s management of the Greek crisis.


A major thinker and inspiring teacher, Karl Polanyi’s contributions have long been influential in a variety of disciplines, notably economic sociology and economic history. Two of his innovations, substantivist economic anthropology and the ‘‘double movement thesis,’’ are recognized as seminal. All of the works for which he is known, however, were written late in life, when in exile, and very little is known of his Hungarian writings, virtually none of which had, until now, been translated. Despite his fame, the biographical literature on Polanyi remains modest: some studies provide invaluable insights, yet all are brief. This article attempts to make some headway in remedying these lacunae. It sketches the contours of that extraordinary historical-geographical conjuncture in which he was formed, and explores his intellectual and political engagements in the Galilei Circle and the Radical Bourgeois Party. It seeks in particular to elucidate the complex roles played by questions of nation, ethnicity and class in the life of the young Karl Polanyi.

Keywords: Karl Polanyi; Hungary; Liberal radicalism; Jewish assimilation. 

The second is an edited book about the Transition to post-Soviet Europe and how the neoliberal deregulation resulted in ever deeper and more frequent economic crises.

Gareth Dale (editor) First the Transition then the Crash: Eastern Europe in the 2000s (Pluto Press, London, 2011) includes case-study chapters of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslavia. The contributors focus upon the relationships between geopolitics, the world economy and class restructuring.

The book covers the changing relationship between business and states; foreign capital flows; financialisation and asset price bubbles; austerity and privatisation; and societal responses, in the form of reactionary populism and progressive social movements. 

Challenging neoliberal interpretations that envisage the transition as a process of unfolding liberty, the dialectic charted in these pages reveals uneven development, attenuated freedoms and social polarisation.

His 8 books published between 1999 and forthcoming 2015 (from his Brunel home page as of today) are listed below:

(2015) Dale, G., Karl Polanyi: The Hungarian writings [edited volume]. Bloomsbury

(2014) Dale, G., Karl Polanyi: A life. University of Michigan Press

(2011) Dale, G., First the transition, then the Crash: Eastern Europe in the 2000s. Pluto Press

(2010) Dale, G., Karl Polanyi: The limits of the market. Polity Press

(2007) Dale, G., The East German revolution of 1989. Manchester University Press

(2005) Dale, G., Popular protest in East Germany, 1945-1989. Routledge

(2004) Dale, G., Between state capitalism and globalisation: The collapse of the East German economy. Peter Lang

(1999) Dale, G., (ed)., Cole, M. and (ed)., The European Union and migrant labour. Berg Publishers

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