State of Innovation and Social Justice: Revisiting Poulantzas and Going Beyond

Papaioannou, Theo (2023). State of Innovation and Social Justice: Revisiting Poulantzas and Going Beyond. In: EU-SPRI Conference, 14-16 Jun 2023, SPRU - University of Sussex.



In the 21st century, the notion of the state and its role in innovation and development have become dominant topics of theoretical and empirical inquiry. Although contemporary innovation theorists clearly unpack the myth of market fundamentalism in industrial policy and practice of neo-liberal states, they don’t seem to explain precisely how come such states have been justified to play extensive roles in the economy. This paper provides a theoretical explanation by drawing lessons from Poulantzas’ approach to the state and going beyond it to consider alternatives. Accordingly, it conceives the innovation state as a result of the social division of labour and as a condensation of conflicting social relations which have their own materiality. The paper argues that whatever form the innovation state has taken in the western world since the industrial revolution, this has remained predominantly capitalist. Thus, it reproduces the social division of labour that is exploitative and unjust, delivering most benefits of innovation to dominant classes and excluding the very poor and the marginalised. The kind of innovation state that matters for social justice is a non-capitalist one, promoting pluralism of societies of equals through innovation.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions