Poulson, Stephen C. 2021. Racism on Campus: A Visual History of Prominent Virginia Colleges and Howard University. New York: Routledge Press. Drawing on content from yearbooks published by prominent colleges in Virginia, this book explores changes in race relations that have occurred at universities in the United States since the late 19th century. It juxtaposes the content published in predominantly White university yearbooks to that published by Howard University, a historically Black college. The study is a work of visual sociology, with photographs, line drawings and historical prints that provide a visual account of the institutional racism that existed at these colleges over time. It employs Bonilla-Silva’s concept of structural racism to shed light on how race ordered all aspects of social life on campuses from the period of post-Civil War Reconstruction to the present. It examines the lives of the Black men and women who worked at these schools and the racial attitudes of the White men and women who attended them. As such, Racism on Campus will appeal to scholars of sociology, history and anthropology with interests in race, racism and visual methods.
Kalberg, Stephen. 2021. Max Weber’s Sociology of Civilizations. Routledge. This volume examines civilizations through the broad lens articulated by the works of Max Weber. In focusing upon his comparative-historical mode of analysis and his causal explanations for the sources, contours, and trajectories of civilizations, this study reconstructs Weber’s sociology in a manner that provides clear guidelines to researchers seeking to investigate civilizations systematically. Through detailed interpretations of the West’s unique development from Antiquity to the Modern era, precise comparisons to the long-range and singular pathways taken by China and India, and careful demarcations of the “particular rationalisms” of several civilizations, the author addresses Weber’s powerful model-building on the one hand and his opposition to organic holism and structural presuppositions on the other hand. Both a broad-ranging conceptual framework and case-based empirical investigations are pivotal to Weber. His research strategy emphasizes further the “subjective meanings” of actors East and West and the deep cultural origins of groups. Finally, this volume masterfully conveys Weber’s contextual and multi-causal methodology rooted in a tight interweaving of the present with the past. Max Weber’s Sociology of Civilizations: A Reconstruction will appeal to comparative sociologists and historians, as well as to theorists of all persuasions. The social scientist pursuing a cross-civilizational agenda will here discover the distinct contribution of Weber’s “interpretive understanding” procedures to the now-essential field of civilizational analysis.
Anderson, Elisabeth C. 2021. Agents of Reform: Child Labor and the Origins of the Welfare State. Princeton: Princeton University Press. The beginnings of the modern welfare state are often traced to the late nineteenth-century labor movement and to policymakers’ efforts to appeal to working-class voters. But in Agents of Reform, Elisabeth Anderson shows that the regulatory welfare state began a half century earlier, in the 1830s, with the passage of the first child labor laws. Agents of Reform tells the story of how middle-class and elite reformers in Europe and the United States defined child labor as a threat to social order, and took the lead in bringing regulatory welfare into being. They built alliances to maneuver around powerful political blocks and instituted pathbreaking new employment protections. Later in the century, now with the help of organized labor, they created factory inspectorates to strengthen and routinize the state’s capacity to intervene in industrial working conditions. Agents of Reform compares seven in-depth case studies of key policy episodes in Germany, France, Belgium, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Foregrounding the agency of individual reformers, it challenges existing explanations of welfare state development and advances a new pragmatist field theory of institutional change. In doing so, it moves beyond standard narratives of interests and institutions toward an integrated understanding of how these interact with political actors’ ideas and coalition-building strategies.
Headworth, Spencer. 2021. Policing Welfare: Punitive Adversarialism in Public Assistance. University of Chicago Press. Means-tested government assistance in the United States requires recipients to meet certain criteria and continue to maintain their eligibility so that benefits are paid to the “truly needy.” Welfare is regarded with such suspicion in this country that considerable resources are spent policing the boundaries of eligibility, which are delineated by an often confusing and baroque set of rules and regulations. Even minor infractions of the many rules can cause people to be dropped from these programs, and possibly face criminal prosecution. In this book, Spencer Headworth offers the first study of the structure of fraud control in the welfare system by examining the relations between different levels of governmental agencies, from federal to local, and their enforcement practices. Policing Welfare shows how the enforcement regime of welfare has been constructed to further stigmatize those already living in poverty and deepens disparities of class, race, and gender in our society.
Reckwitz, Andreas. 2021. The End of Illusions: Politics, Economy, and Culture in Late Modernity. Polity Press. Building on his path-breaking work The Society of Singularities, leading cultural theorist Andreas Reckwitz offers a sociological analysis of the general sense of disillusionment which many are experiencing in the wake of recent events such as the Brexit vote, the election of Trump and the rise of populist leaders elsewhere. Reckwitz attributes this disillusionment to a profound structural shift over the last 30 years, in the course of which classical industrial society has given way to a new kind of modernity—one that is shaped by the new class society, the characteristics of a post-industrial economy, the conflict between culture and identity, the exhaustion resulting from the imperative to seek authentic fulfilment, and the crisis of liberalism.