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Tag Archives: Ben Selwyn

Brazil

WORKERS, STATE AND DEVELOPMENT IN BRAZIL

A book launch of Ben Selwyn’s ‘Workers, State and Development in North East Brazil: Powers of Labour, Chains of Value’ (Manchester University Press, 2012)

8 March 2012, Russell Square: College Buildings, 4418, London
5:15 PM – 7:00 PM

Within the field of development studies, the importance of class relations is usually relegated to lesser status than the roles of states and markets in generating and allocating resources. This book argues that processes of class formation, struggle, and crucially, the changing balance of class forces between capital and labour constitute a key determinant of different patterns of capitalist development. Workers, state and development in Brazil illuminates these key issues in political economy through a detailed empirical investigation of the nexus between class dynamics and developmental processes and outcomes in North East Brazil’s São Francisco valley. It details how workers in the valley’s export grape sector have utilized their structural and associational power to win concessions from employers, contributing to a progressive pattern of regional capitalist development. Based on a stimulating engagement with and critique of World Systems Theory and the Global Commodity Chains approach, this book will be of wide-ranging interest to those interested in understanding how global dynamics impact on local development. It will appeal to students and researchers interested in processes of capitalist development, class formation and dynamics, North East Brazilian political economy and International Political Economy.

Ben Selwyn is Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development Studies in the Department of International Relations, University of Sussex

Contents
Introduction.
1. Global commodity chains, labour history and capitalist development.
2. Emergence of export grape production in North East Brazil.
3. Grape workers: structural power and associational power.
4. Women workers.
5. Managing labour.
6. Class compromise.
7. Conclusions.
Bibliography.

234x156mm 256pp
HB 978-0-7190-8531-4 £65.00
4 line illustrations, 1 map, 19 tables

Manchester University Press
Oxford Road
ManchesterM13 9NR

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Utopia

DEVELOPMENT WITHIN OR AGAINST CAPITALISM

Development Within or Against Capitalism: A Critical Engagement with Amartya Sen’s ‘Development as Freedom’.

Ben Selwyn (University of Sussex)

Date: 29 November 2011,

Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square: Room: G50
University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London WC1H 0XG
Tel: +44 (0)20 7637 2388

Ben Selwyn is the author of ‘Liberty Limited? A Sympathetic Re-Engagement with Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom’. In Economic and Political Weekly. September 10, 2011 Vol.xlvI No.37

 

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Capitalism

UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Dear Colleague,

I am pleased to announce that Queen Mary’s Centre for the Study of Global Security and Development will be hosting a symposium on ‘Uneven and Combined Development and Contemporary World Politics’ on Wednesday, Februaury 9, 2011 between 2-6pm.

The programme is below. If you wish to attend please contact Rick Saull – r.g.saull@qmul.ac.uk – in advance of the symposium.

Regards,
Rick Saull
Director, Queen Mary, Centre for the Study of Global Security and
Development

Symposium on UNEVEN AND COMBINED DEVELOPMENT AND CONTEMPORARY WORLD POLITICS

Wednesday, February 9, 2-6pm (room Arts G.02), Queen Mary, Mile End Campus, London, E1 4NS

Programme/Presenters

Session 1, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Alex Anievas (Cambridge)
‘Origins and Extensions of Uneven and Combined Development in the History and Theory of International Relations: The Case of the First World War’ This paper aims to contribute to recent debates on ‘international historical sociology’ specifically regarding the potential utility of Leon Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) in advancing a theory of modern inter-state conflict. The paper first re-examines recent debates over the theoretical status of U&CD considering, in particular, the various socio-historical and spatial registers covered by the idea as deployed by the different positions within the debates. Considering the possible benefits and pitfalls of stretching the concept to a generalized theory of ‘the international’ throughout history, the paper argues that a central challenge remains. This regards the development of a sufficiently historically-differentiated conception of ‘unevenness’ and ‘combination’-one capable of theorizing the radical historical disjuncture represented by the international relations of capitalist modernity while nonetheless capturing aspects of inter-societal relations common to all historical epochs and thus forming a crucial causal element in the transition to capitalism itself. Developing such a perspective, a theory of U&CD could take up John Hobson’s (and others) charges of ‘Euro-centricism’ with a more historically-sensitive interpretation of the internationally-pressurized multiple paths to capitalist modernity and their crucial ‘feed-back’ effects in restructuring processes of inter-state competition. Drawing on and further contributing to the theory, the second half of the paper sketches an alternative approach to the causes of the First World War distinctively combining ‘geopolitical’ and ‘sociological’ modes of explanations into a single framework. This highlights how the necessarily variegated character of interactive socio-historical development explains the inter-state rivalries leading to war. Contextualizing the sources of conflict within the broad developmental tendencies of the Long Nineteenth century (1789-1914) and their particular articulation during the immediate pre-war juncture, the paper aims further develop the theory of U&CD in and through the rich empirical terrain of the pre-war period thereby providing a much needed empirical contribution to recent debates.

Ben Selwyn (Sussex)
‘Trotsky, Gerschenkron and the Political Economy of Late Capitalist Development’
The study of late capitalist development is often characterised as a battle between protagonists of market-led vs state-led development. For the latter position, Alexander Gerschenkron looms large, as one of the most significant theorists of state-led development under conditions of relative backwardness. There are striking similarities between Gerschenkron’s explication of the advantages of backwardness and Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development and the privilege of backwardness. (These similarities have been commented upon often but rarely subject to closer comparison): Indeed, both men share a common problematic – the comprehension of how economically backward countries could skip stages of development in order to join the ranks of economically advanced countries. This paper compares their conception of this problematic and illustrates how in a number of areas the two are complementary. These are: Their rejection of unilinear patterns of capitalist development, their appreciation of the role of states and institutions in facilitating late development, and their understanding of development as a disruptive social process.  However, in crucial areas the two diverge. These are: Their comprehension of international economic and political relations, the role and position of labour in late development, and ultimately, the potential for late capitalist development to unleash social upheavals and further, non-capitalist transformations. Overall, I suggest how Trotsky and Gerschenkron’s approaches can complement each other, but that ultimately they represent fundamentally opposed approaches to human development.

Coffee Break, 3.30pm – 4.00pm

Session Two, 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Mick Dunford (Sussex)
‘Combined and Uneven Development: A Geographical Perspective’

John Hobson (Sheffield)
‘What’s at Stake in the Neo-Trotskyist Debate? Towards a Non-Eurocentric Historical Sociology of Uneven and Combined Development’
This piece seeks to advance what is being termed ‘third wave historical sociology of IR’ (HSIR). In particular I consider how a third-wave ‘non-Eurocentric’ HSIR could be developed by entering into the extant internecine debate that is raging within the newly emergent neo-Trotskyist school of HSIR. At one extreme lies Justin Rosenberg who argues that the concept of uneven and combined development (U&CD) should be historically generalised while the majority position insists that U&CD is specific only to the modern capitalist era (e.g., Ashman, Davidson, Allinson and Anievas). Here I provide some support for the Rosenberg position, by arguing that failure to historically generalise the concept beyond modern capitalism leads into the cul-de-sac of Eurocentrism. As a counter, I spend the majority of the piece sketching the outlines of a non-Eurocentric theory of U&CD by considering the ‘rise of the West’ as a case of a late-developing civilization; and in the process sketching the basis for an adequate third-wave non-Eurocentric HSIR.

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Risk Takers

Risk Takers

CRITIQUE OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT

 

 

Call for critical papers on business and management

The International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy is a peer reviewed journal looking at business and related issues that over the last couple of years under my de facto editorship has tried to provide a home for more radical pieces from academics working in an otherwise hostile environment in business and related areas. We are increasing our number of issues and welcome more papers from critical scholars which engage with some of the establishment pieties that appear in business and management. We are open to both theoretical pieces and the use of empirical case studies to deconstruct and attack bigger concepts. Past contributors have included Jane Hardy looking at how the rhetoric of knowledge transfer can be a mask for exploitation of companies that are taken over; Ben Selwyn critiquing supply chain literature for ignoring social relations and showing how bottlenecks in the supply chain can aid effective workers action; Chris Yuill detailing some of the debate about health and work and alienation; Gareth Dale and others taking apart the talk of green shift in business; Rachel Aldred attacking the misuse of qualitative research methods to support state policy and so on.

We have also rescued some papers that have been circulating in samizidat including Hugo Radice’s paper on how the higher education system in the UK has come to mirror elements of the old USSR. We have recently published an excellent piece by Colin Barker on Industrialism, capitalism, force and states: some theoretical and historical issues’, carved out of one his many unpublished papers and available from me on request.

Anyone who might wish to submit a piece is invited to e-mail me and I will get back with an idea of whether it might be suitable. The journal website is: http://www.inderscience.com/browse/index.php?journalID=90&year=2007&vol=2&issue=3

Ignore the outdated editorial discussion and be guided by the last issues of volume 2 and volume 3 in terms of the approach we now encourage.

Mike Haynes
M.J.Haynes2@wlv.ac.uk

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