Marxist Sociology Blog: Theory, research, politics2023-12-08T10:30:41-05:00

Are Public and Private Sector Workers of a Different Nature?

Public-sector unions are becoming the hegemonic labor actor in many contemporary democracies. Despite the recent comeback of some unions in the private sector in the US, when one looks at the 21st century in perspective, the trend in unequivocal: while private-sector unions are generally in retreat, public-sector labor is a consistent force in much of the democratic world. Structural trends that undermine non-state labor amid globalization, such as enhanced international economic competition, widespread flexibilization of employment conditions, and retrenchment in traditional manufacturing strongholds have had far less of an effect on public unions outside the industrial sector.

During the last fifteen years, public-sector unions and teachers (the largest state workers’ group in almost every country) have staged notorious strike waves in places as diverse as the US, South Africa, Israel, Nordic countries, China, and Argentina. The president of Peru elected in 2021 built his career in a teacher union. Teachers’ and public-sector unions became the organizational backbone of Tunisian revolution that sparked the Arab Spring in 2011.  Government unions have been the main force behind massive strikes in the UK and France in the first half of 2023, the largest in at least two decades. The current rise of public-sector unions […]

By , |May 16, 2024|Categories: Blog article, News & Announcements, Research|Comments Off on Are Public and Private Sector Workers of a Different Nature?

Legitimacy and Vanguards in Revolutionary Struggle

Since 2011, one of the most important revolutionary projects of the twenty-first century has been taking roots in the north of Syria. In this region most commonly known as Rojava, a group of Kurdish revolutionaries and their various allies have been trying to establish a new and alternative way of governing our collective lives. Rojava has broad political implications, both theoretically and practically, which is why it was one of the cases for my dissertation. Yet I was also fascinated – for reasons I will discuss below – by the rather swift success of revolutionaries in taking power. After all, the PYD – the political party behind the movement – and the YPG/J – its military arm – were able to fill in the void left by the central government in a manner of months, and I was convinced that this had critical implications for revolutionary struggles everywhere. This eventually led me to explore how the PYD and YPG/J managed to outrival everyone else so quickly in Rojava, resulting in the article Competing Revolutionaries: Legitimacy and Leadership in Revolutionary Situations.

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By |May 3, 2024|Categories: Blog article, News & Announcements, Research|Comments Off on Legitimacy and Vanguards in Revolutionary Struggle

Questions of Caste and Racial Capitalism

It is still the case, centuries after the onset of orientalizing tropes became codified in the formal “study of India,” that caste is still treated as a cultural and therefore not a material, historical, or economic phenomenon. I have not myself undertaken a quantitative assessment of this, but it would be interesting to classify dissertations that take caste and casteism as a central subject matter and divide them into culturalist or materialist studies and see how many of each there are. Culturalist accounts depend explicitly or implicitly on caste being treated as ideological bias, rooted in Hinduism, tradition, and irrational stereotypes about purity and pollution that exclude entire populations from access to basic social goods necessary for living and thriving. That exclusion being premised on culture, can only be solved by liberal projects of inclusion rather than material re-allocation of resources like land or money power.

When I wrote “Where Does Caste Fit in a Global History of Racial Capitalism?” my main goal was not only to wholly sideline that culturalist approach but also, to do so in a way that didn’t regurgitate liberal marxist orthodoxies, as I have written about elsewhere, and yet […]

By |Apr 19, 2024|Categories: Blog article, News & Announcements|Comments Off on Questions of Caste and Racial Capitalism

Provincializing Asian regional food regimes

A recent study led by Kuan-Chi Wang found that the legacy of imperialism gave rise to diverse agricultural trajectories in Asia, with countries embracing varying models of development. Some embraced capitalist-driven “green revolutions,” while others pursued socialist-inspired approaches to agricultural modernization. These divergent paths reflected each nation's unique historical context and ideological leanings, contributing to the complexity of contemporary food regimes in the region. Adding another layer to this rich complexity, agricultural experts and institutions emerged as key actors in disseminating knowledge and shaping farming practices. Their efforts not only influenced technological advancements but also shaped the institutional frameworks that govern food production and distribution in Asia today.

By |Mar 27, 2024|Categories: Blog article, Research|Comments Off on Provincializing Asian regional food regimes

ECLAC and the problematization of Latin America’s development

Latin America is usually recognized as the most unequal region in the world. It seems clear that the region faces important obstacles to development. But how do we understand the challenges to Latin America’s development? In a recent article, Emilia Ormaechea analyzes the changes in the idea of development in the contributions of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) from its creation, in 1948, to the present day. She argues that ECLAC had a very critical understanding of the challenges that a development strategy for Latin America entailed, especially during the structuralist period. However, this critical perspective lost relevance in 1990, after the neoliberal offensive and the shift from structuralism to neostructuralism.

By |Mar 16, 2024|Categories: Blog article, Theory|Comments Off on ECLAC and the problematization of Latin America’s development
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