About the Institute
The Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy is an international research platform, established at Concordia in 1988.
The mission of the Institute is two-fold: to preserve the intellectual legacy of Karl Polanyi and to contribute to reserach and policy debates on new development strategies locally and internationally and on the new or reformed multilateral institutions required for the global order.
What we do
- House the Karl Polanyi Archive and provide archival support
- Participate in research projects at home and abroad
- Host visiting scholars and students
- Host International Polanyi conference (Canada and Abroad)
- Contribute to the dissemination of literature on and/or influenced by Karl Polanyi
Karl Polanyi Archive
The centrepiece of the Institute is the Karl Polanyi Archive. This rich and vast collection of material includes unpublished papers, drafts of manuscripts (published and unpublished), notes, lecture notes and outlines, published articles, papers by others, correspondence with important European and North American intellectuals, political figures, some of whom were former students of Karl Polanyi, and memorabilia.
In April of 2014, the Institute launched the Karl Polanyi Digital Archive to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Karl Polanyi’s death and the 70th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, The Great Transformation.
An open source library and information management system provides free access to the digital collection, an invaluable electronic research tool for scholars, researchers, and practitioners dedicated to social justice and democracy and to developing a much needed new and interdisciplinary paradigm for the social sciences.
Karl Polanyi’s historical analysis of the relationship between the economy and society provides an important foundation for the growing commitment to ethical, environmental, and social issues that should drive economic activity and foster socio-economic development. One of his main arguments is that, in capitalism the economy is “disembedded” from society, resulting in a conflict of “habitat versus improvement.” His ideas contribute to the development of critical approaches in theory, action, and policy that are more representative of modern complex social realities, and to the construction of a socially rooted, historical and institutional heterodox economics that effectively challenges mainstream theory and the limitations of its underlying hypotheses. Polanyi’s influence continues to grow across disciplines; his work has become a key reference for academics and students in the social sciences, humanities, among legal scholars, scientists, policy makers, and activists in the North and in the South.