Against the Grain — Tuesday, Feb. 14

Against the Grain

U. C. Berkeley sociologist Michael Burawoy on the stances W. E. B. Du Bois took toward race, racism, class, and emancipatory politics.

Upcoming Episode

It’s been described at the most turbulent period of global class struggle in history — the turn of the 20th century when revolutionaries around the world found common cause against capital and empire. Christina Heatherton discusses the revolutionary internationalism swirling around the Mexican Revolution and the remarkable intersection of radicals at that time. (Encore presentation.) … Continued

Against the Grain

Financialization & Student Anxiety

Various explanations have been offered for what’s been called an anxiety epidemic among university students, but Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou believes a crucial causal factor is financialization, the way the financial sector and its logic has permeated our social, economic, and individual lives. He sees signs of optimism in the proliferation of student mobilizations around the issue of … Continued

Some causes make for strange bedfellows, but few like the campaign against sex trafficking, which brings together radical feminists, Christian evangelicals, the US state, and even QAnon. Cultural anthropologist Gregory Mitchell separates myth from fact and examines how allegedly rescuing women and girls from trafficking, included at mega sporting events, leads to increased police violence, … Continued

Fossil fuels lie at the center of contemporary life — powering, despoiling, and altering everything around us. And that includes environmentalism itself, according to anthropologist David Bond. He discusses how concepts like toxic thresholds and environmental impact assessments are an accommodation to the continued existence of the oil and petro-chemical industries, rather than ways to … Continued

Mass shootings and other forms of person-on-person violence dominate the headlines, but what less visible, and perhaps more insidious, kinds of violence exist? Barbara Chasin identifies and describes two types of violence that affect large numbers of people: organizational violence and structural violence. She also connects the dots between violence and economic inequality. Barbara Chasin, … Continued

Why do so many people who see themselves as progressive nonetheless support the state of Israel, considered an apartheid state for its treatment of the native Palestinian population? Scholar Saree Makdisi argues that the answer partially lies in the Israeli state’s cultivation of Western liberal support. He discusses campaigns designed to appeal to progressives — … Continued

A number of things are bad for your health. Is economic inequality one of them? According to Stephen Bezruchka, U.S. population health lags behind that of dozens of other countries for two main reasons: extreme economic inequality and a lack of government support directed at early life. Stephen Bezruchka, Inequality Kills Us All: COVID-19’s Health … Continued

Work changed dramatically during the Covid pandemic. Enormous numbers of people lost their jobs, while others were able to work remotely. And then there were so-called essential workers, whose in-person jobs put them at the highest risk. In response, many of them organized, often informally. Sociologist Jamie McCallum argues that the struggles of essential workers … Continued