Special issue introduction: what is the new state capitalism?

I. Alami, M. Babic, A.D. Dixon*, I.T. Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


This article introduces and lays the groundwork for this Contemporary Politics special issue on the 'new' state capitalism. We start by noting that the rubric state capitalism tends to elicit paradoxical responses, from uncritically embracing the term and overstretching its realms of application, to rejecting its validity altogether. We argue that the source of such ambivalence resides in issues of conceptual definition, which have led to a number of analytical impasses. We propose instead to construe state capitalism as a set of critical interrogations concerning the changing role of the state, thereby introducing a degree of plasticity in the use of the category. We call this the problematique of state capitalism. We subsequently identify three major themes that are explored in this dedicated issue, and that warrant further research in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely (1) its class underpinnings, (2) its global nature, and (3) its relational character.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-263
Number of pages19
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number3
Early online dateJan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022


  • State capitalism
  • statism
  • comparative capitalism
  • state-owned enterprises
  • state-led investment

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