Journalflood Shuttered

I've decided that journalflood is going to have to be put on hold for a while. Some new commitments have made the current workload untenable.

Despite being short and thin a complete journal summary still tended to take a couple of hours, and so to do the project adequately was a good 10+ hour weekly commitment. (To do it well would be closer to 20+.)

Apologies to everyone who has generously directed links here. I'll leave the page up, but there wont be any new content.

I still think the basic concept is sound (broad no-nonsense 'what's out there' summaries rather than detailed selective commentary). However it only really works if pretty much every issue of every social-science journal gets covered.

I'd be very keen on starting up again at some time, with a better layout, and as a broader collaborative effort. This would lessen the workload and greatly improve the quality of the posts. A setup in which a handful of people focus on various 'beats' would be ideal. Blending that with a larger-still pool of writers contributing more detailed but intermittent commentaries would also be interesting. If anyone is interested in working on something like this then get in touch.

Cheers, Rob.


Sociological Review. August 2008, 56(3)

Dennis is anxious about 'virtual-vigilantism' - the dark side of growing decentralized surveillance (think cell-phone video). Combined with web2.0's ability to spread viral outrage, the danger of cruel and possibly dangerous web-lynchings is real. Possible solutions: get used to it... and stop being a jerk around cellphones.

Meah & Co. are chewing through the sex narratives of three generations of East Yorkshire families to examine transitions into adulthood and their connections to heterosexuality. Irreducible to the actual sex, heterosexual relations are presented as a broader family-monitored institution linked to adulthood.

Kaspersen & Gabriel take us through Elias's survival unit concept - an elementary social particle, lying at the end of a chain of dependencies, defined through the provision of safety, sustenance and the like. They're where the relational buck stops, so to speak, pointing us towards a consideration of conflict and war. Worth a read.

Backett-Milburn looks at Scottish women in low-paid food retailing, and their management of various obligations (domestic work, child and aged care etc.). Findings: jobs often needed to fit around caring duties, which were seen as primary. Where work grabs focus, home 'emergencies' will bring it back. Balancing moral identities (good mother, good daughter...) was a difficult and ongoing project. Finally the obligation mindset often also applies to work, provided the employer reciprocates.

Bourdieu's gender is très révolutionnaire. Yair links up his analyses to a preoccupation with 1789. The takeaway: without the ancien régime in mind you're missing a whole layer of Bourdieu.

Moor covers British brand consultancies (advertisers with a vaguer remit). Their attitude to research is ambivalent, there's a 'cult of creativity' (big egos), and their claims of being powerful cultural intermediaries might be a little overblown.

The Czech Republic's communist-party era educational inequalities and mobilities come into focus for Simonová. Increasing educational equality between men and women was the only obvious highlight. A brief increase in general mobility did occur, but it was a blip. The good bits probably had more to do with generally expanded education, and industrialization, than with any enlightened educational policy. Unlike trendy jeans and a decent selection of doughnut toppings, you'd think educational equality would be the sort of thing a state like that could have actually got right. Oh well...

Runciman is tired of Marx Weber and Durkheim: bring on Darwin. He points to an often automatic and ignorant dismissal of modern evolutionary thinking by sociologists (even if our models aren't quite as weak as the evolutionary types make out). There's a lot of value in the work of neo-Darwinian psychologists and philosophers, much of it directly applicable to sociological research. He cites a favorable example, where sociological work has evolutionary reasoning in play. The Viscount of Doxford has a point.


Social Studies of Science. August 2008, 38(4)

Neuroscientists talk with their hands a lot. Alac observes and transcribes goings on: pointing and gesturing in relation to fMIR images and 'seeing' as an intersubjective accomplishment.

Delborne watches a scientific controversy (the apparent identification of Mexican maize containing transgenic DNA, despite a local moratorium). The release of their claims caused a general flap, and plenty of 'impedence'. Initially framing the dispute in agnostic technical and professional terms, Chapela eventually went dissident, bringing in an explicit politics tied to activists, the public, and claims of co-option and bias in his opponents.

Hong takes Bourdieu's scientific field and runs with it. The example is a Chinese isotope lab, where holders of theoretical and technological capital (think experiments, instrumentation and observation for the latter) are competing for influence in the wake of institutional changes.

Dean & Co. look at the politics of Antarctic data-sharing. A 1946-8 aerial survey by RARE, and a 1970s RES survey supply the comparison cases, lying either side of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. A detailed (and currently relevant) history of geopolitical and institutional issues around Antarctic data management and scientific collaboration.

de Poel looks at technological change in the Netherlands's sewerage treatment, via Abbott. There's a solid run through the history, focused on the jurisdictional claims of scientists and engineers. Building up stores of abstract knowledge and measuring up inefficiencies (often via new standards and metrics) were common power-plays, with civil engineers maintaining an over-all authority. Quite good.

The issue closes with an obit for Bernard Barber and Mary Douglas from Restivo & Dowty.

Feed Madness

I see from the FeedBurner stats that a number of people are actually subscribed to the JournalFlood RSS feed.

Strangely I never expected that to actually happen, and so I've possibly been annoying the hell out of people. You see I'm in the habit of posting my drafts up to the site and then proofreading them once posted, making a series of edit reposts from my client as I go.

I'm not sure what this translates into for the subscriber, but I have a horrible feeling it might mean people have been getting four or five versions of each post, all slightly different.

If this is the case then accept my apologies. And I'll try and stop doing it. And if anyone wants to make any other complaints or suggestions, this would be the post to attach them to. Cheers.


Social Science Computer Review. August 2008, 26(3)

Pirch presents bloggers as a party within a party, as they get their way in removing powerful incumbent, Senator Lieberman, from Connecticut's Democratic ticket (he still won though). The outraged netroots fulfilled many typical party roles - providing logistical and financial support and uniting and coordinating the like-minded. The claim that the internet could render the value of incumbency moot.. well we'll see...

Gueorguieva is also covering the 2006 US election cycle, this time focusing on Myspace and Youtube. We have some demographic user breakdowns, and some summaries of youtube and mysapce's role in various races. That youtube would mean politicos would have less chance to relax and to retool and control their messages was identified - the degree to which it would exacerbate a trivial 'gotcha' politics was missed. And I guess nobody could have predicted quite how cringe inducing those debates were going to be.

Fielding is talking grids for qualitative research. He offers up the experiences of current and intending users - archiving, text and content analysis, and access grids for collaboration and 'fieldwork' stand out. Better standards and means of linking up data are needed (are there any open and truly scalable qualitative sociology data-sets out there?). Good automated content analysis, cool simulations and visualizations, and reliable automated transcription (please god) would be killer-apps. Ethics issues loom large (yawn). And finally, the way data and papers are published is closed, slow, costly and ridiculous (but then how will we know who should get paid what?). This is worth a read, if only to spark some worthwhile googling.

Wolfe & Co. show that a fear of viruses might stop you torrenting Illustrator, or season three of The Wire. But probably not. Guilt might work too. There's a regression analysis and tables of the students' 'self generated' responses if you're interested.

Has sitting at the computer made workers more money? Peacock looks at sections of Germany through the 80s and 90s. If you got in early, then yes. If you're male, then probably. The mid-80s was the income-premium peak. Female workers haven't seen equal computer-knowledge bonuses since 1979.

Sin looks at collaboration around NUD*ist. They tested it out in an evaluation of a British street wardens programme. There were silly expectations, followed by an acceptance that it at least had the right ins and outs to sit in the project. Practical concerns weigh in, and there is some healthy honesty here about the compromises made in coding and managing data. Worth a read if you're looking at using this sort of program.

Denscombe compares 16 year-olds' responses to open ended questionnaire items both online and on paper. The online responses were longer, but insignificantly.

winMax (.pdf) (not WinMax) is a piece of text analysis software (the current branch is MAXQDA). The author claimed to have based it on Weber and Schutz, and now Colins & Co. are here to call him out. This would be great for someone diving into the program for the first time.

Derks & Co. took 105 highschool kids and got them to interpret emoticon laden communiques. Takeaway: smileys work ;D


Journal of Gender Studies. August 2008, 14(3)

There is a call for papers for a 2009 special issue on 'men and masculinities' (edited by Robinson & Meah). They're casting wide. Submissions close this December.

Hague & Bridge look over a Cheshire domestic violence coordinated community response project (CCR). Combining stats-processing, education, training, and outreach - and placing police interventions in a network of support and advocacy (basically joining the dots between various do-good services) - the CCR gets a good review (and the numbers are fairly impressive). Give them some more money already...

Monk-Turner & Co. are checking on advertisers' use of sex. Nearly 300 ads were coded, with startling results: 99% featured alluring behavior, 82% provocative clothing, and 46% were objectifying (the subject was explicitly gazed at). There's a further breakdown if you're interested... Who still buys magazines anyway?

Francis goes theory on us. There's a critical walk through Halberstam, leaving us with two problems: the necessary import of our stubborn meat bodies and the related costs of one's behavior diverging from wider meat-signaled expectations. This feels like it should be the introduction to something more substantial.

There was a romance-novel boom at the start of Franco's Spain, and Puente wants you to admit they were a little bit subversive. Despite conforming to the broad strokes of the generalissimo's ideology (if you can even call it that), and contemporary gender norms, there is some notable discursive wiggle-room in the protagonists' determination and success in overcoming difficulties (what sort of a depressing failure-riddled romance novel was she supposed to be writing?).

Wijk & Finchilescu covers the introduction of unisex South African navy ships. We're talking rituals (initiations... girl-excluding sports days), artefacts (impractical uniforms for women) and metaphors ('man's world'... crew as family... female officers as 'sir'). There's some definite ambivalence here, but at least in the meantime the women got proper uniforms.


Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. August 2008, 37(4)

Ho & Ng have been observing Cucumber Lane with an eye to the transition out of socialism. 'Public amnesia' is the target - attempts to quash Maoist enthusiasms and 'angry national feelings' (minzu qingxu) and replace them with consumption and mellow patriotism. Broadly speaking it's working - the past has been jettisoned, and the direction (if not the destination) of change is unquestioned. However, individual milage varies.

Rosen & Venkatesh place Chicago sex work in the context of a broader local, low-wage informal economy. Given a thin job market, the (often casual - week here, month there) sex work becomes a reasonable coping strategy (despite it being of a risky and low-paying sort). The work offers just enough money, flexibility and autonomy, and is often seen as preferable to mainstream service work.

We're talking inter-racial antagonism around Howard Street. Britton observes that segregation and hostility was more marked outside on the street than inside the local soup kitchen - blame more fleeting interactions, differing organizational cues, and territoriality exacerbated by perceived racial judgments on the part of police.

Harris closes things up with a look at the ways Californian courts sort juveniles between the youth or adult justice systems. There's some alarming wiggle-room in these calls which rely on various rules-of-thumb, stereotyped and locally defined notions of 'typical kids', and selective and attribution-heavy readings of legal histories.


Sociology. August 2008, 42(4)

The BSA's Sociology presents a series of pieces relating (at times quite loosely) to 'everyday life'. Crow & Pope introduce things.

Blokland presents an ethnography looking at how people (mainly black women) who live in rough 'no go' US housing projects experience and manage the risk of violence. The risks of harm, humiliation, 'chaos' and loss are real. Easier-said-than-done options include: leaving, being a shut-in and not dating into the drug trade.

Finchman casts doubt on sharp work/lesisure distinctions. Bicycle messengers (surely a job under digital siege) furnish the examples: it's a style, an identity, a community. They meet up and compete at the job in their 'leisure' hours. We are taken through some of the European events, Becker's Jazzmen are linked, and work and leisure slosh around with identity and relationships.

Wajcman & co. also think through work-leisure boundaries, this time via work's presumed mobile-phone powered reach into the home. Survey data suggests this is not such a problem. The phone plays a greater role in home life coordination than it does in work intrusion, with its various functions employed as a sort of home/work firewall.

Beagan & co. highlight persistent gender-role assumptions around housework and cooking in European-, Punjabi- and African-Canadian families. Women's disproportionate domestic workloads were a fact regardless of what excuses were mobilized. Popular ones: time availability, conflict reduction, competency and standards ('they wont do it right'), and occasionally an appeal to gender roles (mainly amongst the Punjabi-Candians).

We get stuck into (migrant social) networks with Ryan & co. Putnam's bonding-bridging network distinction is mobilized, with the basic takeaway being that vague theoretical notions of social capital do little to get at the complex, dynamic, transnational networks of migrant communities.

Rothon uses YCS data to show the import of including a mother's social class (or at least using a dominance model) in minority educational attainment analyses.

Finch talks names as family markers (mainly in the UK). Personal names bring together individuality, connectedness and continuity (or change) of self and identity. The relation-signaling uses of first and last names are discussed.

Why do people visit the Senedd? Housley & Wahl-Jorgensen inquired and got two basic answers: for political and tourist gazing (ie. a day out, or devolutionary fervor). The building comes off as consumable, democratic - but not directly democratic (shockingly, visitors can't join in debates).

Lee looks into modern squeamishness at death and dying. As much as it was ever really there, it is now on the wane. Thank re-enchantment: a growing incorporation of New Age beliefs, NDE research and related afterlife prattle (I'll thank them when I'm dead).


Urban Studies. August 2008, 45(9)

Vega & Reynolds-Feighan chew through some Irish travel-to-work numbers (.pdf). Employment sub-centres and forms of travel are identified (lots of cars...). They get pretty deep into the data here, and it's all fairly Dublin-specific. But if you're into this sort thing...

Joong-Hwan Oh talks self employment in US cities over the 80s and 90s, with a focus on suburban-central interactions. It goes up with education, poverty, employment rates and a declining manufacturing sector (also immigration, sort of).

The cost of US urban sprawl is explored in Carruthers & Úlfarsson, with an eye to smart growth policy. Conclusions: sprawl is expensive. Questions: would density have been better, or just cheaper?

Keivani et al. talks up private housing underwritten by public land development via an examination of Iran's 1980s housing policies. This is pretty thick policy stuff (although it is nice to read something about Iran that isn't about war or religion).

Moving the poor out of public housing breaks up social networks in Manzo, Kleit & Couch's paper. Many approach relocation with reluctance. The loss of a day to day common life amongst residents - and the basic sense of being destabilized - stand out as sources of anxiety. 'Severely distressed' housing can contain highly supportive communities.

Lindell describes overlapping and entangled forms of governance in Maputo markets. We're talking various sites of power and layers of political agency. The whole thing is well worth the read.

Malmö's shopper-friendly pedestrian precincts are the focus of Kärrholm's piece: in particular their 'territorialisation' via material markers, cues and other 'actants'. I'm an ANT fan, but I'd still love a six year embargo on sociological uses of 'fluid' and 'topology'.

Batuman is keeping an eye out for organic intellectuals amongst Turkish urbanists. A good outline of 60s-80s Turkish urban politics.

Nakamura contrasts economic disparities amongst regions in England and Japan. You're down the calculus rabbit-hole pretty quick here. If you want to dive into regional GVA differences and the role of agglomeration effects for these states then check this out.

Forsyth & co. close things up with a study of Twin Cities walking: pedestrian friendly environments (and friendly environments in general) encourage certain types of walking but don't increase the overall physical activity of residents - socioeconomic factors are much more relevant. Accelerometer readings may not be the best measure.


European Journal of Cultural Studies. August 2008, 11(3)

EJCS is going negative this issue. Walters kicks things off by introducing the issue's theme: 'anti-policy' (measures against things; like poverty, drugs, corruption or terrorism). The framing of policy goals in the negative (even as outright 'wars') - superficially linked to liberal technocratic and depoliticizing impulses - should still be viewed as political, substantive and constitutive (think governmentality).

de Goede looks at the fight against terrorist financing: behind the seemingly unobjectionable goals and technocratic instruments lie a highly political web of means and ends which serve to regulate and undermine forms of Muslim affiliation, communication and philanthropy. Non-state actors are enrolled through legal threats, and those economically excluded are dismissed as collateral damage on the way to bigger terrorist fish.

What comes after anti-racism? Anti-anti-racism and post-anti-racism, obviously. Lentin leads us through the anti-racism scene and its critics on the left (race is a flawed or imaginary concept, a 'US folk concept' (.pdf), or a backdoor from 'real' economic issues). She offers a defense of the anti-racist cause against these voices, 'post-race' ideologies, and obscuritan state multicultural-wonkery.

Nyers discusses terrorism detainees' appeals for the release of hostages in Iraq. Rancière is deployed, as the detainees' statements rub up against the norms and aesthetics of dialogue and subject-hood at stake in their detention.

Simon offers the US (and NAZI) war on cancer as an antidote to the wars on crime and terrorism. A new war on cancer could - as it permeates government practices, Foucault-style - bring a new and more causally sophisticated focus upon problems of poverty, education, pollution and incarceration. Maybe...

Quick thoughts on syndication.

I'm planning on putting together a post some time looking at the major journal publishers and their online alert setups. In the meantime here are some quick thoughts.

Email alerts make sense for those select few publications which you follow closely. But if your interest is only peripheral or intermittent then having abstracts or TOCs appear in your inbox is a nuisance.

RSS feeds scale much less annoyingly, provided you have a good reader. But if you're not using RSS already then it can be a non-trivial change to your workflow, and one that doesn't always stick. In both cases the initial setup is something of a pain.

What is needed is a way to get a general sense of what is out there in the academic aether without being directly pestered by (sometimes screwy) subscriptions to 30+ publications.

This blog is an attempt at one sort of a solution. Up the ladder of reliability (and down that of belligerence) is this page from Routledge's 'sociology arena'. This seems an easy and simple solution (there's no signup or setup and I assume it's just a preset RSS aggregator). All you'd have to do is bookmark it (and tag it) and you can get an occasional, hassle free picture of what distant but allied weirdos are writing about.

Anyway, I'll come back to all this. (Hopefully with a link to a nice aggregator that covers all the major publishers. Possibly via Gregarius...).


Cultural Geographies. July 2008, 15(3)

Cultural Geographies devotes an issue to 'spectro-geographies'. (Think Derrida's 'Hauntology'. Or Gordon. Not Hilbert.) Maddern & Adey introduce things. Strained metaphors aside, what the concept bundles here is of interest: the experience of time, place, emotion and memory; elusive causalities; uncertainty about what is present or absent, changed or the same.

Holloway & Kneale insist on writing as if about actual ghosts, which grates. They then turn to ghost stories and spiritualist techniques, muddying things further. The goal (I guess) of drawing out tools of thought through some Serres-esque hyperinternalist metaphor-stretching is passable for a special issue. However the failure to make links here to any non-ghost analytic objects or concerns leaves this feeling decidedly cliquish.

Edensor takes us on his daily commute, where the working classes have become ghosts. We meet some of the sites (abandoned cinema, the old rail lie, a park, ex-council flats...). There are pictures. We're talking evocative emptiness and disuse (or 'absent presences'), memory and continuity amidst change.

Matless offers the writings of Mary Butts as a way in to discussions of ghosts and place. There's a brief run through notable geography-ghost academic meetings, shifting into a discussion of Butts and her work's 'spectral aesthetic'.

Maddern approaches a tourist-friendly Ellis Island, via interviews with restoration workers. It's full of (both organic and conjured) ghosts; or constellations of spaces and objects which affect visitors, often in unpredictable ways. Bonus metaphors: restoration decisions as ghostly (indeterminate); migrants as spectral (marginal, peripheral); genealogists as ghost hunters...

Indigenous peoples are haunting Cameron. Ghost motifs and metaphors are traced through the colonial Canadian psyche, coming together in the haunting of a BC park amid anxieties around indigenous land claims.


Current Sociology. July 2008, 56(4)

July's Current Sociology is dedicated to alienation by way of the body. Kalekin-Fishman & Langman introduce the issue with a brief history of the alienation concept: sociological accounts of the body (defined very loosely) are presented as a means of linking up to the concerns of the discipline's founding thinkers.

David advocates 'reflexive epistemological diversity' (read thoughtful multi-factor, multi-leveled accounts - well yeah). The Bart Simpson reference is pointless.

Kalekin-Fishman insists that false consciousness is real, and that we'll get there via some version of mind-body dualism. It's doubtful if any serious monist or dualist positions preclude or endorse the sort of analysis suggested here. Blame the jackhammer of presumed critique: a less excitable approach to alienation wouldn't need all this dubious philosophical baggage.

Adelman & Ruggi look at Brazilian notions of beauty and gender. Women athletes, fashion models and the transgendered are the objects (treated separately). There may be ideational shifts going on, but don't hold your breath.

Allen takes on 'psy', re: anorexia. Think of the anorexic as a desirable type - shored up and glamorised through media spectacle, operationalised in the DSM and underwritten by a culture anxious about health, food and self-discipline. Suffers from that strange cookie-cutter post-structuralist voice...

Kontula speaks up for the pleasure of (female, Finnish) sex-workers. The money isn't distinctly alienating. Cash-free relationships can work in parallel. The job can even be emancipating. It's all down to context: focus less on the 'act', more on the circumstances.

Bodies are designed, demeaned, vulgarised and brutalised in Prosono's pastiche. Ideologies of the body, formed in European Fascism, live on in the present - as grist for a horrible consumer-capitalist mill. Dire stuff.

Cashmore goes after the Tiger Woods commodity: a false advertisement for 'the US's new racial order' (some amusingly breathless press pieces are enrolled). Strained distinctions aside, Woods is a moving cog in US racial politics. He's also a brand. And finally, he's probably white.

The carnival is back for Langman in the form of body-focused edginess (think tattoos, piercings, and - apparently - labiaplasty. It's resistance (sort of). But not enough (repressive desublimations anyone?).


Global Media and Communication. August 2008, 4(2)

Strömbäck, Shehata & Dimitrova follow six months of Swedish-US print coverage around the Danish Mohammad cartoon drama. Framings are specified (free speech, clashing worlds, anti-Muslim prejudice...). The NYT comes off as slightly more hawkish (if more polarised). Skews in story selection may have exacerbated events. Some (fairly predictable) distance-determined differences between the NY and Swedish coverage are suggested.

Pan-European satellite TV had an awkward wait while corporate strategies (ad spending, most directly) caught up. Chalaby covers the 80s-90s shift, focusing on advertising industry restructuring. A solid account. Key point: a lot worked in favour of trans-national broadcasters.

Cottle & Rai take on 24/7 global news. Frames rear up again: in evaluating the claims of both boosters and critics of 24/7 news we should attend to the in-coverage framing of issues as well as issues of ownership or reach. Conclusion: things are complex, and it's in the distribution of frames that a lot of political rubber meets the road.

Finally Desai revisits Anderson's thoroughly abused Imagined Communities. Anderson thought it fed 'vampires of banality' (what famous text hasn't?). Desai is more concerned that it delegitimised third-world independence movements and blunted the analyst's critical grasp of nation based political-economy (possibly, but it's more symptom than cause).

Sociological Quarterly. July 2008, 49(3)

Morawska introduced the MSS's special issue on international migration research (based on a 2006 ISA conference). There are some great literature overviews here, but it's also pretty in-discipline stuff.

Agadjanian kicks things off with a focus on migration within sub-Saharan Africa. Data is scarce. Immigrants are unloved. Conflict drives much movement. HIV/AIDS complicates things further. More (and more 'mainstreamed') research is needed.

The Asian labour migration research scene is summarised by Asis & Piper. The infrastructure and output are coming along, but more theorisation and international ties would be beneficial.

Caponio covers the Italian research: it has matured since the 80s. There is more wonkish output, and more convergence with international concepts and concerns (natural as Italy's immigration situation became less 'exceptional'). The suggestions: watch out for the EU and speak more English.

Morawska is back to compare research agendas amongst the US and rich Europe. Europe is more overtly interdisiplinary, but the states seem to shift around key disciplinary tropes more effectively. The US is focused on assimilation, transnational ties and the effects of colour. It also tends to put more time into second generation outcomes, and do a better job of gender (there are still deficiencies). The Europeans prefer 'integration' to 'assimilation'. They also put more emphasis on the role of receiving-country factors (institutions, host-nation hostility...) for immigrants. There's a lot more here if you're in the field...

Finally Fong & Chan run through the patterns of recent immigration research in the US and Canada. The topics, frameworks and objects of books and articles are tallied (too much structure, not much culture). The US kept a closer eye on demographics while Canada watched the politics. The key framework has been "assimilation/pluralism". Canada adds a concern with inter-ethnic stratification. The US takes up research around markets and social capital. The whole scene is promisingly 'public'.


Critical Sociology. July 2008, 34(4)

Critical Sociology stakes a claim on something big: part one of a two part Carchedi piece. It will offer 'nothing less' than a whole new conception of ('capitalist') society. The rest of the issue focuses on China and the former USSR, in terms of an analysis of state capitalism.

Carchedi's piece places a premium on consistency with Marx. Equations abound. We dig into actual/possible distinctions. The big gun is potential reality (read: immanent possibilities). This is underwritten by a determinant-determined distinction (a way of wrestling with modal issues in causation). Reproduction and change are approached. (To me this all feels muddied by those odd (a-)x(a-)=(a²) obsessions...) The final play is the introduction of a concrete/abstract individuals distinction (implicit in Marx, naturally). The outcome so far: a sociology of non-equilibrium. I'm sure some people will be all over this.

Pollard introduces the state capitalism theme: what happens when a state elite owns and controls everything? The emphasis is on transitions. The coming points are old, but provide edible intros to the relevant state histories.

Gabriel & co. seek to define communism, socialism and capitalism via surplus labour (only in communism do the workers control the surplus). The USSR and PRC are presented as state capitalist and state feudalist organisations (also fleeting, or perverted, socialisms).

Hasan traces the history of modern Chinese economic organisation from the revolution to the current hybridised state-capitalist arrangement. Those left behind (rural people) or degraded (workers) by the recent systemic changes are highlighted. The implications of these changes for the state, and the CCP, are explored (expect devolution and worker grumbling).

Screwing the working class ties together modern Russian history for Haynes , with the Stalinist Russian state 'infused by the dynamic of capitalism'. (I worry that we're just using capitalist as a short-hand for crap working conditions.)

Things close up with a review essay by Katzenstein. China and India provide the examples.