Special issue introduction: what is the new state capitalism?

Ilias Alami, Milan Babić, Adam D. Dixon*, Imogen T. Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


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 problématique 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
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2022


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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