Theoretical research summaries

Precarity Through a Feminist Lens

The term ‘precarity’ has gained significance in the social sciences, as a number of recently published international compilations illustrate. Responding to the neoliberal transformations of the labor market, precarity emerged as a category attempting not only to describe the prevailing conditions work (marked by the continuous losing of workers’ rights), [...]

By |2021-03-18T09:25:59-04:00Mar 18, 2021|

Property Dimensions and Ecological Preservation

Contrary to the classical sociological tradition of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber, Margaret Thatcher famously proclaimed that “there is no such thing as society.” Similarly mainstream economics assumes the basic unit of individuals and individual private property as the foundation of the market system.  Drawing upon her mentor Friedrich von Hayek, [...]

By |2020-10-28T11:31:28-04:00Oct 28, 2020|

The Limits of State Capitalism on China’s Bid for Hegemony

Much of the current discourse on China’s rise significantly overstates its economic might. China’s model of state capitalism and the dynamics of globalization have contributed to its rapid development over the past four decades. Yet these same factors circumscribe its hegemonic potential.

By , |2020-10-14T13:11:15-04:00Oct 14, 2020|

Capitalist Restructuring and the Power of Women Textile Workers in Egypt

Changes in the Egyptian textile industry gave women workers structural power, which they drew on to develop cross-gender solidarities and working-class consciousness to fight back. Their strikes laid the groundwork for the Arab Spring.

By |2020-09-16T17:07:50-04:00Sep 16, 2020|

Self-Exploitation in China

Under Deng Xiaoping’s famous slogan, “liberating the productive forces” (jie fang sheng chan li), the official policy of liberal reform – strong state intervention in the labor market – has worked in support of commodification of labor, rather than constructing a system of social welfare that restricts the impact of market forces in China. When it comes to the price for labor power, there are two kinds of remuneration: the direct and the indirect salary (or fringe benefits). The first resembles what we know as hourly wage, whereas the second “is redistributed through a social agency.” For most welfare states, this social agency refers to the State, or a statutory agency that manages the social security fund, for example. As regards the Chinese context, it is the household solidarity characterized by auto-exploitation and auto-deprivation of rural households that has played this role.

By , |2020-05-27T13:23:11-04:00May 27, 2020|

An Organic Crisis Is Upon Us

While all of the various crises that comprise the larger organic crisis are inextricable, I’ve tried to map out in schematic form a number of the crises I see cascading across our conjuncture. As you will see, it’s nearly impossible to talk about one without talking about all, but that’s what I’ve tried to do here: provide a roadmap to the organic crisis that’s only just begun.

By |2020-05-06T16:39:58-04:00May 1, 2020|

Is China Socialist or Capitalist? How Marxism Breaks the Binary

In China, contrary to the usual sequence, the socialist revolution preceded, rather than followed, the democratic breakthrough. For China to progress beyond its current early socialist stage, massive political change will be needed, and this poses serious challenges for the Chinese Communist Party. This way of looking at China does not coincide with CCP official doctrines, of a “harmonious society,” “market socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and the “Chinese dream.” But it also rejects the very common facile Western notion that China’s society is “capitalist,” or has been since the death of Mao and the reform and opening-up policies were promulgated. Socialist ideology has sunk deep roots in the country’s political consciousness, and this is a real force – just as the classical philosophies of earlier Chinese social formations were a force exceeding their material foundations.

By |2020-04-23T11:13:45-04:00Apr 23, 2020|

Understanding the Emergence of Authoritarian Capitalist States: Looking Backward to See Forward

The emergence of dictatorial rule in capitalist societies once organized by parliamentary institutions can best be interpreted as a response to an intensifying crisis of representation within parliamentary democracy.

By |2020-03-19T13:20:49-04:00Mar 19, 2020|
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