The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View

The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century: A Global View

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Want, disease, ignorance, squalor, and idleness: first recognized together in mid-nineteenth-century Europe, these are the focus of the Social Question.
In 1942 William Beveridge called them the “giant evils” while diagnosing the crises produced by the emergence of industrial society. More recently, during the final quarter of the twentieth century, the global spread of neoliberal policies enlarged these crises so much that the Social Question has made a comeback.  

The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century maps out the linked crises across regions and countries and identifies the renewed and intensified Social Question as a labor issue above all. The volume includes discussions from every corner of the globe, focusing on American exceptionalism, Chinese repression,
Indian exclusion, South African colonialism, democratic transitions in Eastern Europe, and other phenomena. The effects of capitalism dominating the world, the impact of the scarcity of waged work, and the degree to which the dispossessed poor bear the brunt of the crisis are all evaluated in this carefully curated volume. Both thorough and thoughtful, the book serves as collective effort to revive and reposition the Social Question, reconstructing its meaning and its politics in the world today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520302402
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 251
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jan Breman is Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam and author of On Pauperism in Present and Past. 

Kevan Harris is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of A Social Revolution. 

Ching Kwan Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Specter of Global China. 

Marcel van der Linden is Senior Fellow and former Director of Research at the International
Institute of Social History and author of Workers of the World.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

List of Contributors viii

Preface: The Terrifying Convergence of the Three Worlds of the "Social Question" Goran Therborn ix

1 The Social Question All Over Again Jan Breman Kevan Harris Ching Kwan Lee Marcel van der Linden 1

2 The Social Question in Western Europe: Past and Present Marcel van der Linden 23

3 The End of American Exceptionalism: The Social Question in the United States Fred Block 40

4 The Social Question as the Struggle over Precarity: The Case of China Ching Kwan Lee 58

5 Migrants, Mobilizations, and Selective Hegemony in Mekong Asia's Special Economic Zones Dennis Arnold 77

6 A Mirage of Welfare: How the Social Question in India Got Aborted Jan Breman 98

7 The Labor Question and Dependent Capitalism: The Case of Latin America Ronaldo Munch 116

8 Labor and Land Struggles in a Brazilian Steel Town: The Reorganization of Capital under Neo-Extractivism Massimiliano Mollona 134

9 From Poverty to Informality? The Social Question in Africa in a Historical Perspective Andreas Eckert 152

10 The Social Question in South Africa: From Settler Colonialism to Neoliberal-Era Democracy Ben Scully 170

11 The Social Question in the Middle East: Past and Present Kevan Harris 188

12 Post-Socialist Contradictions: The Social Question in Central and Eastern Europe and the Making of the Illiberal Right Don Kalb 208

13 The Social Question in Russia: From De-Politicization to a Growing Sense of Exploitation Karine Clément 227

14 Postscript: The Social Question in Its Global Incarnation Jan Breman Kevan Harris Ching Kwan Lee Marcel van der Linden 244

Index 251

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