A political theorist gives great answers to the question of Marx’s relevance for today’s world.
This first-hand account of Wacquant’s foray into amateur boxing examines the construction of the “pugilist habitus” in a Chicago gym.
A cultural critic’s interesting take on cultural capital and the fate of “taste” in America’s consumerist society. A nice addition to the readings from Bourdieu. The full text is available at Seabrook’s website.
This short, accessible essay from the prolific Stanford sociologist of institutions provides a more Durkheimian take on globalization. Likely to stimulate some good discussion when paired with Wallerstein.
Johnson’s book about a deadly cholera outbreak in 1850s London contains vivid prose about the living conditions of England’s working class (the first chapter, “The Night-Soil Men” is particularly good). A great way to illustrate to students the circumstances Marx was writing about in his critiques of capitalism. The story also illustrates the importance of social capital.
Harvey, one of the most influential social theorists living today, brilliantly extends Marx’s insights on capitalism to the recent financial crisis. Also recommended: A Brief History of Neoliberalism (2005, Oxford).
A powerful take on globalization from one of the most prolific theorists of our time.
In this clever and all-too-true piece of satire, Thomas Frank and David Mulcahey present the business strategy of the fictional company Consolidated Deviance, Inc., the “nation’s leader … in the fabrication, consultancy, licensing and merchandising of deviant subcultural practice.”
An excellent, accessible case study into how commodities can be de-fetishized. The authors trace a papaya from its origins on a Jamaican plantation to the fridge of a North London flat. Highly recommended.
An explanation of network theory, a cutting-edge science of social order, by one of its most prominent proponents.