About Us

The Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, dedicated to the memory of Karl Polanyi, was established in 1988 and is located at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Karl Polanyi is considered one of the most important contributors to the social sciences in the 20th century along with writers such as Max Weber, John Maynard Keynes, Joseph Schumpeter, and Gunnar Myrdal. According to the Social Science Citation Index, Polanyi’s 1944 masterpiece, The Great Transformation, is among the most cited works in the Social Sciences.

The mission of the Institute is two-fold: to preserve the intellectual legacy of Karl Polanyi and to contribute to urgent policy debates on new development strategies locally and internationally and on the new or reformed multilateral institutions required for the global order.

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 This rich and vast collection of material includes unpublished papers, drafts of manuscripts (published and unpublished), notes, lecture notes and outlines, published articles, papers by others, correspondence with important European and North American intellectuals, political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. The archive is available to the public for consultation.

The Institute has established a wide international network of debate, dialogue and scholarly exchange that contributes to the global discussion of a vision of democratic social and economic development appropriate for the 21st century through its international conferences, research collaborations, public lectures and seminars, and publications. Polanyi’s influence continues to grow across disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, among legal scholars, scientists, policy makers, activists, international political economists, and increasingly, students of comparative politics, policy makers and civil society organizations, among others.

The Institute convenes an international conference every two years, alternating between host countries and Canada. The Twelfth International Karl Polanyi Conference on “Karl Polanyi and Latin America” was held at the National University General Sarmiento, Los Polvorines-Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2012. The event was co-organized by the Conurbano Institute, National University General Sarmiento and the Polanyi Institute. The next international Polanyi conference will be held in Montreal in the fall of 2014.