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.
Calhoun, Craig, Dilip Gaonkar, and Charles Taylor. 2022. Degenerations of Democracy. Harvard University Press. Three leading thinkers analyze the erosion of democracy’s social foundations and call for a movement to reduce inequality, strengthen inclusive solidarity, empower citizens, and reclaim pursuit of the public good. Democracy is in trouble. Populism is a common scapegoat but not the root cause. More basic are social and economic transformations eroding the foundations of democracy, ruling elites trying to lock in their own privilege, and cultural perversions like making individualistic freedom the enemy of democracy’s other crucial ideals of equality and solidarity. In Degenerations of Democracy three of our most prominent intellectuals investigate democracy gone awry, locate our points of fracture, and suggest paths to democratic renewal. The authors call for bold action building on projects like Black Lives Matter and the Green New Deal. Policy is not enough to save democracy; it will take movements.
Calhoun, Craig and Benjamin Fong. 2022. The Green New Deal and the Future of Work. Columbia University Press. Catastrophic climate change overshadows the present and the future. Wrenching economic transformations have devastated workers and hollowed out communities. However, those fighting for jobs and those fighting for the planet have often been at odds. Does the world face two separate crises, environmental and economic? The promise of the Green New Deal is to tackle the threat of climate change through the empowerment of working people and the strengthening of democracy. In this view, the crisis of nature and the crisis of work must be addressed together—or they will not be addressed at all.