Critical Sociology (Crit Sociol )

Publisher: University of Oregon. Dept. of Sociology, SAGE Publications


Critical Sociology publishes articles from all perspectives within a broad definition of critical or radical social science.The journal grew out of tumultuous times of the late 1960s and was a byproduct of the "Sociology Liberation Movement," which erupted at the 1969 meetings of the American Sociological Association.It has published work mainly within the broadest boundaries of the Marxist tradition, although it has also been home to postmodern, feminist, and other radical arguments. It will continue in this fashion and preserves its position as one of a select few "alternative" social science journals with widespread recognition and respect in the world of "mainstream" social science.

  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Critical Sociology website
  • Other titles
    Critical sociology
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

SAGE Publications

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 months embargo
  • Conditions
    • On author website, repository and PubMed Central
    • On author's personal web site
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Post-print version with changes from referees comments can be used
    • "as published" final version with layout and copy-editing changes cannot be archived but can be used on secure institutional intranet
    • If funding agency rules apply, authors may use SAGE open to comply
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As research universities benefit financially from knowledge creation through patents and corporate funding, one effect on the career trajectories of academics has been "intellectual closure." We examine several forms of closure including the avoidance of high-risk projects and preference for projects with immediate rewards, calculative thinking about how and where to publish, and increased competition among faculty and graduate students.
    Critical Sociology 05/2014; vol. 40(no. 3).
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    ABSTRACT: We examine the experiences of whites displaced by racial change by focusing on the ways in which nostalgia narratives are used to construct and maintain white racial identity in an era of color-blind discourse. Expanding on the analysis of nostalgia as a tool to create identity in response to a loss in one’s place attachment, we explore how nostalgia is used in constructing and maintaining contemporary forms of whiteness. Based on data from in-depth qualitative interviews, we find that nostalgia narratives are useful in framing white racial identity along the themes of innocence and virtuousness as well as powerless and victimhood. In the shared storytelling of this nostalgic past, whites create a present that plays by color-blind rules, while reproducing, reiterating, and strengthening whiteness.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):757-779.
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    ABSTRACT: Theorizing the social influence of racism and race has long been a concern of sociologists. Theories have addressed how racism, race and race inequality are organized and changed. Yet they have not addressed why racism and race are persistent despite social change. A social process theory of racism and race is proposed that analyzes their flexibility and persistence. It posits that racism is a social process where the meanings of race identities are traded across macro, meso, and micro levels of society. These trades legitimate social policies, are used to define a society as moral, and inform experiences. Black and white identities in light of the civil rights movement and its retrenchment, and the post-9/11 identity of Muslim Americans provide examples for applying the theory. I discuss the implications of the social process theory of racism and race for the future of race inequality in American society and sociological research.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):705-715.
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    ABSTRACT: In this article we outline the ‘walls of whiteness’ that make it difficult to teach the sociology of race and racism and make it difficult for students at historically white colleges and universities (HCWUs) to wrestle with these important issues. Most white students enter HWCUs surrounded by these walls – protecting them from attacks on white supremacy – that have multiple layers and therefore are even more difficult to penetrate; yet they must be penetrated. With a few exceptions, the institution of American higher education does not threaten those walls. Instead, college education often bolsters them through curricular and extracurricular experiences, residential and disciplinary isolation, institutional symbols, cultural reproduction, and everyday practices such as grading and classroom interactions. We identify these walls in this article and make suggestions regarding strategies to begin their dismantling.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):717-738.
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    ABSTRACT: Scholars analysing Durkheim’s relation to socialism have generally focused on whether Durkheim was personally a socialist and/or his discussion of socialism as a ‘social fact’. This article focuses on whether Durkheim had a socialist theory. I will highlight how Durkheim’s normative and socialist political sociology aimed its critique at: the dominance of the market economy; economic polarization; class conflict; the ‘capitalist state’; and the impossibility of universal individual realization without radical economic change. From here Durkheim’s framework for an alternative political society will be outlined. This alternative, with its advocacy of political organization in ‘corporations’, can be located within a tradition of ‘libertarian’ socialism found most prominently in the work of the early 20th-century English social theorist, G.D.H. Cole. It will be argued Durkheim offers a powerful explanation for the continued dominance of neoliberal ideas ‘after the crash’ and the resulting ‘Occupy’ protests.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):689-704.
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    ABSTRACT: The mass movements in June and July 2013 were the largest and most significant protests in Brazil for a generation, and they have shaken up the country’s political system. They expressed a wide range of demands about public service provision and governance, and concerns with corruption. Their social base was broad, starting with students and left-wing activists and including, later, many middle-class protesters and specific categories of workers. The deep and contradictory frustrations expressed by those protests were symptomatic of a social malaise associated with neoliberalism, the power of the right-wing media, the limitations of the federal administrations led by the Workers’ Party (PT), the rapid growth of expectations in a dynamic country, and the atrophy of traditional forms of social representation. This article examines the political dilemmas posed by those movements, and suggests constructive alternatives for the left.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):657-669.
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    ABSTRACT: The task of this article is to help in the grounding of foundations for relating surveillance studies to Marxian categories. Existing theories of surveillance have thus far not been linked systematically to Marx’s works. The contribution of this article is that it discusses the relation of the Marxian concept of the cycle of accumulation and the notion of surveillance. It is shown that for Karl Marx surveillance was a fundamental aspect of the capitalist economy and the modern nation state. Surveillance is an integral negative and antagonistic feature of capitalist society. The Marxian concept of the cycle of capital accumulation allows for systematically distinguishing six forms of economic surveillance: applicant surveillance, workplace surveillance, workforce surveillance, property surveillance, consumer surveillance, and surveillance of competition. The notion of accumulation is suitable for establishing a general critical understanding of surveillance.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):671-687.
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    ABSTRACT: This article considers the turn to punishment in neoliberalism, and the hardening it marks in the criminal justice system, education, and public life. Examining tensions between neoliberalism’s doctrine of equality before the market and its actual reproduction of racial disparities, I specify a concept of violation, as a principle of both material and symbolic domination, that can respond to these tensions. Considering influential analyses of the turn toward punishment, I argue that the historic legacy of racism is a crucial determinant of the excesses of current regimes of penality, and that racialized repression figures in a contemporary recomposition of political economy. Furthermore, in the neoliberal moment the disciplinary repertoire of racism is extrapolated to new populations and terrains. I recontextualize the current carceral turn within a broader logic of violation that links moments of social production and decomposition, and fuses processes of material exploitation with racialized injury and subjection.
    Critical Sociology 09/2013; 39(5):739-755.
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the many criticisms of the empirical and theoretical adequacy of Rational Choice theory, it continues to have considerable influence and appeal in the sociological study of religion. This article examines the use of the market metaphor and its subsidiary metaphors, with a view to understanding how these metaphors work in rational choice theory, and what this might be able to tell us about its enduring influence. I suggest that the metaphor is a useful one for studying religion in a capitalist, commodity oriented society, but when we forget that the ‘religious economy’ is a metaphor, it comes to serve ideological purposes well suited to the neo-liberal agenda. The market (conceived after a neo-conservative fashion) is thereby naturalized and serves to reinforce the ideology of a one-dimensional society.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):529-543.
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    ABSTRACT: This analysis examines the psycho-social pressures that gave rise to neoliberal subjectivity in the 1970s, drawing insights from the work of Norbert Elias, Sigmund Freud and Georges Bataille. Specifically, it looks to new codes of shame regarding feelings of superiority that were developing with the civil and women’s rights movements as pivotal in neoliberalism’s ascendancy. These codes of shame heightened psychical tensions for the normalized Fordist subject by making taboo entrenched registers of social hierarchy. The transition to neoliberal subjectivity, with its emphasis on hyper-individualism and the increasing mediation of social relations by impersonal market forces, reflected a compensatory strategy for organizing selfhood. The neoliberal subject, while nominally adhering to notions of political equality, sublimated aggression through a form of economic sociality that reinforced historical inequalities. As the article concludes, neoliberalism is akin to a narcissistic neurosis, obstructing identification with others, and manifests itself in a dispassionate social destructiveness.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):511-528.
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    ABSTRACT: This article addresses the political aspects of the structural marginalization of Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) in India. Relating to critical debates about the changing nature of state–society relations in India, the article assesses the argument that the best way for social movements in India to advance their oppositional projects is to harness the state to their attempts to deepen democracy and advance subaltern emancipation. The trajectories of two Adivasi movements in western Madhya Pradesh are analysed, and I discuss the conceptual and political lessons that can be learnt from these case studies in terms of the relationship between subaltern politics and state power in contemporary India. Theoretically grounded in Marxian state theory, the article puts forward the argument that it is necessary to move beyond both anti-statism and state-centrism in order to develop a politically enabling engagement with contemporary Adivasi mobilization in India.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):615-633.
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    ABSTRACT: This is a critical phenomenology of the latest iteration of the Christian Right: Dominionism. A brief history of the movement first situates Dominionism in the American religious landscape. The article then details eight of its political-economic objectives, followed by an account of its heroic action orientation. The article concludes with a critique of Dominionism, coupled with observations on its likely fate.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):545-560.
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    ABSTRACT: This article discusses a participatory planning process that opened democratic possibilities in Columbia, MO and argues that similar processes can and should be utilized to encourage broader participation in the public sphere. While grassroots participation is ideal, communities can use the language of dialogue and deliberation to turn instrumental processes toward more democratic outcomes. In the concluding remarks the author discusses both implications for research and the methods of political process organization that can help to create just and equal spaces.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):593-613.
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    ABSTRACT: ‘The individual’ has been a central feature of western political thought for 300 years. However, the continuous transformation of the capitalist system, its tendency toward monopoly, its accelerating extension of commodification into the remaining global commons, particularly into the realms of knowledge and culture, is undermining the political function of this fundamental concept. The subordination and/or elimination of the owner-entrepreneur means that claims to represent ‘the individual’ appear less and less credible. Increasingly coercive measures are required to facilitate the extraction of surplus value. The decline of liberal individualism (in its 19th-century form at least) is not temporary. Its central tenets will never again be fully embraced since they no longer offer a credible means of representing the needs of either industrial or finance capitalism in a favourable light.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):493-509.
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    ABSTRACT: Some recent positions on Antonio Gramsci portray him as a vanguardist who outright rejects common sense and popular culture as playing a role in counter-hegemony or political resistance. This manuscript seeks to provide a corrective to these recent portrayals. It does so by accurately evaluating Gramsci’s position on the dialectical relationship subaltern (popular) beliefs have to counter-hegemony; by considering his bottom-up stance on the relationship organic intellectuals have to the subaltern; by focusing on his cutting edge position on ideological articulation; and in light of his articulations regarding the role of subaltern passion and subaltern-centered pedagogy for counter-hegemony. As a way to illustrate the significance of the subaltern for counter-hegemony, the potential of popular religion for counter-hegemony is explored.
    Critical Sociology 07/2013; 39(4):561-591.
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    ABSTRACT: My primary interest in this article is to reveal the complexity of neoliberal temporalities on the lives of disabled people forced to participate in workfare regimes to maintain access to social security measures and programming. Through drawing upon some of the contemporary debates arising within the social study of time, this article explicates what Jessop refers to as the sovereignty of time that has emerged with the global adoption of neoliberal workfare regimes. It is argued that the central role of temporality within the globalizing project of neoliberal workfare and the positioning of disability within these global macro-structural processes requires the sociological imagination to return to both time as a theme and time as a methodology.
    Critical Sociology 05/2013; 39(3):405-419.
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    ABSTRACT: Taking the contemporary political activism of ‘the Global Justice Movement’ as an illustrative case, this article scrutinizes some influential theoretical ideas about the consequences of ‘individualization’ for collective political action. Quite often, this process is seen as implying a new politics of individual life style – ‘life politics’ – which is associated with new social movements and claimed to have gained importance since the 1960s, on the expense of the collective ‘emancipatory politics’ being associated with ‘old social movements’ such as the Labor Movement. In the light of the article’s empirical findings, this alleged division between life politics and emancipatory politics is questioned, and it is argued that these two kinds of politics should be understood as intertwined practices. The article’s theoretically grounded analysis is based on quantitative data from a survey of participants at the fifth European Social Forum. These data are interpreted and further explored using qualitative interviews with activists.
    Critical Sociology 05/2013; 39(3):453-478.
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    ABSTRACT: The catastrophic earthquake which devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010 revealed the deep socio-economic divides which plague the nation. The vivid scenes of trauma led to a massive influx of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on behalf of the goodwill of the global community. However, more than one year later the reconstruction process has been shown to be a very lucrative undertaking for many private organizations. Haiti remains in ruins, with NGOs benefiting from the extreme privatization of the Haitian state, resulting in a patchwork system of services which are unaccountable to the Haitian people. The Interim Haiti Reconstruction Committee, led by Bill Clinton, seeks to entrench the same neoliberal policies which laid the foundation for much of the pre-earthquake poverty and dependency. Such efforts raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the current reconstruction and whether these organizations are committed to help Haiti, or themselves – and what alternatives exist.
    Critical Sociology 05/2013; 39(3):439-452.
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    ABSTRACT: This article suggests the merits of conceptualizing incarceration as including institutionalization in a wide variety of enclosed settings, including prisons, jails, institutions for the intellectually disabled, treatment centers, and psychiatric hospitals. Such formulations conceptualize incarceration as a continuum and a multi-faceted phenomenon. This article will highlight the importance of moving beyond analogies between criminalization, institutionalization and psychiatrization to discuss the intersection of these phenomena, by highlighting several social science perspectives that have integrated these spheres already; taking up an analysis of the political economy of incarceration; and re-examining the reality of prisoners with disabilities in the growing prison machine. Lastly, I propose a re-examination of the forces of trans-incarceration, the move from one carceral edifice such as a psychiatric hospital to another such as a jail. I will demonstrate the ways in which engaging in such intersectional analysis changes the lens from which disability and incarceration are conceptualized and analyzed.
    Critical Sociology 05/2013; 39(3):385-403.
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    ABSTRACT: The article analyzes the structural unemployment that characterizes persons with disabilities from a social, economic and political perspective. As long as persons with disabilities continue to be defined as unable to perform productive work, they will remain condemned to poverty, begging, dependency and a life without projects to fulfill. With reference to the history and struggles of the disability rights movement in Argentina, it focuses on understanding this struggle as a collective endeavor, aimed at establishing the right to earn a living by working, i.e. via paid productive employment. It concludes by positing that in the long run, social inclusion can only be realized in a society that is organized so that each individual can contribute what he or she is capable of, with the necessary means put at his and her disposal; and that in return, his and her needs (as they may evolve over time) will be met.
    Critical Sociology 05/2013; 39(3):325-347.