Pedraza, Silvia and Carlos A. Romero. 2022. Revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela: One Hope, Two Realities. University Press of Florida. Revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela compares the sociopolitical processes behind two major revolutions—Cuba in 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power, and Venezuela in 1999, when Hugo Chávez won the presidential election. With special attention to the Cuba-Venezuela alliance, particularly in regards to foreign policy and the trade of doctors for oil, Silvia Pedraza and Carlos Romero show that the geopolitical theater where these events played out determined the dynamics and reach of the revolutions. Updating and enriching the current understanding of the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutions, this study is unique in its focus on the massive exodus they generated. Pedraza and Romero argue that this factor is crucial for comprehending a revolution’s capacity to succeed or fail. By externalizing dissent, refugees helped to consolidate the revolutions, but as the diasporas became significant political actors and the lifelines of each economy, they eventually served to undermine the social movements. Using comparative historical analysis and data collected through fieldwork in Cuba and Venezuela as well as from immigrant communities in the U.S., Pedraza and Romero discuss issues of politics, economics, migrations, authoritarianism, human rights, and democracy in two nations that hoped to make a better world through their revolutionary journeys.
Paret, Marcel. 2022. Fractured Militancy: Precarious Resistance in South Africa After Racial Inclusion. Cornell University Press. What are the legacies and ongoing realities of racial capitalism in the post-civil rights, post-apartheid era? What are the causes and consequences of Black protest, after formal racial inclusion, and how do precarious layers of the working-class forge resistance? Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with activists, Fractured Militancy tells the story of post-apartheid South Africa from the perspective of four low-income Black neighborhoods in and around Johannesburg – along the way, offering parallels and contrasts to the United States. It will be of interest to scholars and students of race, immigration, social movements, development and the political dimensions of capitalism. Marcel Paret traces rising protests back to the process of democratization and racial inclusion, which took the form of an elite-driven “passive revolution” from above. This process dangled the possibility of change but preserved racial inequality and economic insecurity, prompting residents to use militant protests to express their deep sense of betrayal and to demand recognition and community development. Underscoring remarkable parallels to Black Lives Matter in the United States, this account attests to an ongoing struggle for Black liberation in the wake of formal racial inclusion. Rather than unified resistance, however, class struggles within the process of racial inclusion produced a fractured militancy. Revealing the complicated truth behind the celebrated “success” of South African democratization, Paret uncovers a society divided by wealth, urban geography, nationality, employment, and political views. Fractured Militancy warns of the threat that capitalism and elite class struggles present to social movements and racial justice everywhere.
Gautney, Heather. 2022. The New Power Elite. Oxford University Press. In 1956, radical icon C. Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite, a scathing critique of elite power in the United States that has become a classic for generations of nonconformists and students of social and political inequality. With rising rates of inequality and social stratification, Mills’ work is now more relevant than ever, revealing a need for a fresh examination of American elitism and the nature of centralized power. In The New Power Elite, Heather Gautney takes up the problem of concentrated political, economic, and military power in America that Mills addressed in his original text and echoes his outrage over the injustices and ruin brought by today’s elites. Drawing from years of experience at the highest levels of government and in the entertainment industry, Gautney examines the dynamics of elite power from the postwar period to today and grounds her analysis in political economy, rather than in institutional authority, as Mills did. In doing so, she covers diverse, yet interconnected centers of elite power, from the US State and military apparatus, to Wall Street and billionaires, to celebrities and mass media. Gautney also accounts for changes in global capitalism over the last forty years, arguing that neoliberalism and the centering of the market in political and social life has ushered in ever more extreme forms of violence and exploitation, and a drift toward authoritarianism. A contemporary companion to Mills’ work through a fresh critique of elites for the new millennium, The New Power Elite offers a comprehensive look at the structure of American power and its tethers around the world.
Arar, Rawan and David Scott FitzGerald. 2022. The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach. Polity Press. Some people facing violence and persecution flee. Others stay. How do households in danger decide who should go, where to relocate, and whether to keep moving? What are the conditions in countries of origin, transit, and reception that shape people’s options? This incisive book tells the story of how one Syrian family, spread across several countries, tried to survive the civil war and live in dignity. This story forms a backdrop to explore and explain the refugee system. Departing from studies that create siloes of knowledge about just one setting or “”solution”” to displacement, the book’s sociological approach describes a global system that shapes refugee movements. Changes in one part of the system reverberate elsewhere. Feedback mechanisms change processes across time and place. Earlier migrations shape later movements. Immobility on one path redirects migration along others. Past policies, laws, population movements, and regional responses all contribute to shape states’ responses in the present. As Arar and FitzGerald illustrate, all these processes are forged by deep inequalities of economic, political, military, and ideological power. Presenting a sharp analysis of refugee structures worldwide, this book offers invaluable insights for students and scholars of international migration and refugee studies across the social sciences, as well as policy makers and those involved in refugee and asylum work.
della Porta, Donatella. 2022. Contentious Politics in Emergency Critical Junctures: Progressive Social Movements during the Pandemic. Cambridge University Press. Social movements have often played an important role in emergencies, mobilizing in defense of those rights that they perceive as being at risk or more urgently needed than ever. In general, progressive social movements develop in moments of intense change, mobilizing with the aim of turning them to their advantage. the variable mix of challenges and opportunities related to a critical juncture. The specific balance of challenges and opportunities faced by progressive social movements during the Covid-19 crisis is a central question addressed in this volume. Based on existing research on the first phases of the pandemic Covid-19, this Element addresses the ways in with the health emergency had an impact on the repertoire of action, the organizational networks and the collective framing of progressive social movements that adapted to the pandemic conditions and the related crises, but also tried to transform them.