Kim, Nadia Y. and Pawan Dhingra. 2023. Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. NYU Press. There is a growing consensus that the discipline of sociology and the social sciences broadly need to engage more thoroughly with the legacy and the present day of colonialism, Indigenous/settler colonialism, imperialism, and racial capitalism in the United States and globally. In Disciplinary Futures, a cross-section of scholars comes together to engage sociology and the social sciences by way of these paradigms, particularly from the influence of disciplines of American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. With original essays from scholars such as Yến Lê Espiritu, Sunaina Maira, Hōkūlani K. Aikau, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Ben Carrington, Yvonne Sherwood, and Gilda L. Ochoa, among others, Disciplinary Futures offers concrete pathways for how the social sciences can expand from the limiting frameworks they traditionally use to study race and racism, namely: the black-white binary, the privileging of the nation-state, the fixation on the US mainland, the underappreciation of post- and settler-colonial studies, the liberal assumptions, and the limited conception of what constitutes data. In turn, the contributors reveal that sociology has many useful questions, methodologies, and approaches to offer scholars of American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. Disciplinary Futures is an important work, one which renders these disciplines more intellectually expansive and thus better able to tackle urgent issues of injustice.
Stepan-Norris, Judith and Jasmine Kerrisse. 2023. Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Fight Over the U.S. Labor Movement. Oxford University Press. The book is a comparative and historical analysis of the factors that helped or hindered workers in their attempts to build unions in the U.S.’s 11 basic industries, 1900-2015. For each industry, we analyze shifts in union power (union density), as affected by the state and macro context, replacement costs of workers, union and employer strategies, and the impact of employment, race, gender, and occupation. Ultimately, we aim to reveal the lessons that these struggles may offer to today’s labor movement. We invite you to make use of our publicly available data repository for your own research. The data that we collected includes industry-level information on union membership and density, strikes, elections, unfair labor practices, employment size, race, gender, and occupation of workers, and more. If you want to purchase the book, the 30% discount code from Oxford is ASFLYQ6. Or you could ask your library to purchase it (instructions here). The first chapter is available here.
Bakker, J.I. 2019. “Piketty and Patrimonialism: A Frankfurt School Critique of Piketty’s Use of Marx, Weber, Political Economy, and Comparative Historical Sociology.” Chapter in Lauren Langman and David A Smith, eds. Twenty-First Century Inequality and Capitalism: Piketty, Marx, and Beyond (Studies in Critical Social Sciences). Brill. Bakker develops a detailed historical argument (that also reflects on contributions of various Frankfurt School luminaries) and sees in Piketty, for all the empirical riches, a relative theoretical poverty, with the lack of attention to imperialism/colonialism, plus his failure to link the “baronial” influence of the modern day patrimonial elites to any form of class analysis.
Bakker, J.I. 2023. “Blumer, Weber, Peirce, and the Big Tent of Semiotic Sociology: Notes on Interactionism, Interpretivism, and Semiotics.” Chapter in Fontdevila, Jorge and Andrea Cossu eds, Interpretive Sociology and the Semiotic Imagination. Bristol University Press, 2023. Project MUSE muse.jhu.edu/book/112239. This chapter proposes to refine the symbolic interactionist project by incorporating Peircean semiotics and neo- Weberian interpretation. Symbolic interactionism appears to have forgotten key sources of its American pragmatist roots. Peirce’s indirect influence on Mead and Blumer, for instance, is often undertheorized but should be made central to the foundational narratives of symbolic interactionism. This calls for more sophisticated understandings of meaning- making that incorporate Peirce’s semiotic triadic model and classifications of signs where symbols are just one kind of signs among others. Here, I take on these matters and expand on my pragmatic sociology (Bakker, 2011a) to introduce the emergent project of a semiotic sociology. In stepwise fashion, I lay foundations of a metaparadigmatic synthesis— a “big tent”— based on five key arguments that build upon each other, including Blumer as its anchor point, American symbolic interactionism, global interactionism, neo- Weberian interpretive analysis for cross- historical comparison, and Peircean semiotics as the culminating paradigm that pulls it all together. The Cold War is over (Menand, 2021).
Duina, Francesco and Crina Viju-Miljusevic. 2023. Standardizing the World: EU Trade Policy and the Road to Convergence. Oxford University Press. The EU has pursued many trade pacts across the world. This is part of its foreign policy: as the third largest economy in the world and lacking hard power, the EU relies on trade agreements to project its interests. These are often complex and far-reaching initiatives that have the potential to shape not only economic but also political and social life in the EU and its trading partners. In Standardizing the World, Francesco Duina and Crina Viju-Miljusevic have gathered a group of leading experts to present an unprecedented assessment of the EU’s efforts to standardize a wide array of economic, political, and social aspects of life through its trade agreements across the globe. Drawing on economic sociology and constructivist strands in international political economy, the volume examines what is being standardized, the extent to which the EU has been able to project its worldviews, and what explains the observable patterns of standardization across policy areas and geographies. Ten leading scholars from across the world offer as many chapters on EU agreements with all major trading partners and cover efforts in social and labor rights, the environment, investments, rule of law and anti-corruption, agriculture and food quality, services, public procurement, sustainable development, and more. Their findings paint a picture of a dynamic EU capable of projecting its worldviews across the globe that is nonetheless not always consistent or successful. Standardizing the World provides a wide-ranging and rigorous understanding of standardization in trade agreement as well as the EU’s abilities to project its power and worldviews across the globe.