Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies

Kim, Nadia Y. and Pawan Dhingra. 2023. Disciplinary Futures: Sociology in Conversation with American, Ethnic, and Indigenous Studies. NYU Press.
disciplinary futures
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.

Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Fight Over the U.S. Labor Movement

Stepan-Norris, Judith and Jasmine Kerrisse. 2023. Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Fight Over the U.S. Labor Movement. Oxford University Press.
union booms and busts
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.

Standardizing the World: EU Trade Policy and the Road to Convergence

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.

Revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela: One Hope, Two Realities

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. 

Fractured Militancy: Precarious Resistance in South Africa After Racial Inclusion

Paret, Marcel. 2022. Fractured Militancy: Precarious Resistance in South Africa After Racial Inclusion. Cornell University Press.
fractured militancy
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.