The great financial crisis of 2007–9 has given rise to a small industry of academic studies, some directed at the wider systemic tendencies of capital, class and crisis, others at narrower regulatory or managerial issues. Cornelia Woll’s The Power of Inaction is a work of the latter kind. It is a study of the state-finance […]
Archive | Review Essays/Book Reviews
Review Essays and Book Reviews
The Climate Moment: Environmental Sociology, Climate Change, and the Left
On September 21, 2014, the largest climate march in U.S. history took place in New York City, as more than 300,000 protestors signaled to UN delegates arriving for climate talks that more desperate measures were needed to protect humanity and other species. The massive demonstration, though representing a wide array of social and political viewpoints, […]
Nature, Technology and the Sacred
The classical sociologists, including Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, all argued that society was experiencing a rapid secularization, arising from the Enlightenment, industrialization, and capitalism. While Marx famously argued that under capitalism “all that is holy is profaned,” Weber just as famously referred to the “disenchantment of nature” associated with formal rationalization. Although by no means […]
Why Movements Matter
In the early 1980s a trans-Atlantic antinuclear movement consisting of millions of protestors emerged seemingly out of nowhere to threaten the prerogatives of power.
Marx’s Ecological Saving Grace: His Materialism
Criticisms of Marx for his alleged anti-environmentalist views are commonly voiced today not only by liberals and Green thinkers, but also within the eco-socialist discourse that has arisen over the last two decades. Such criticisms have been leveled, ofter with little evidence to back them up, by such diverse figures as Laszek Kolakowski, Anthony Soper […]
Environmental Politics: Analyses and Alternatives
Writing about the relative neglect of Volumes Two and Three of Capital within the socialist movement of her day, Rosa Luxemburg observed that Marx’s critique of capital and his contribution to social science as a whole constituted one ‘titanic whole’ with an ‘immeasurable field of application’. It propelled him far beyond the immediate needs of […]
Marx’s Ecological Value Analysis
Paul Burkett, Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 312 pp., $45, hardcover. If there is a single charge that has served to unify all criticism of Marx in recent decades, it is the charge of “Prometheanism.” Although Marx’s admiration for Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound and his attraction to […]
The Canonization of Environmental Sociology
Environmental sociology first arose, as a distinct subfield of sociology, in the 1970s. The Environment and Technology section of the American Sociological Association was formally launched almost one quarter of a century ago, in 1976. The rise of the subfield was a direct response to the rapid growth of environmentalism in society at large in […]
Is Overcompetition the Problem?
It is tempting perhaps to attribute all the problems of capitalism to excessive competition. After all, capitalism is generally presented within contemporary ideology as a system which is nothing more than a set of competitive relations governed by the market. Is it not possible then that the economic contradictions of capitalism, and indeed the present […]
Review of Reinventing Marxism by Howard Sherman.