Review abstracts, vol. XXXII, 2009
Review XXXII, 1, 2009
Raj Patel & Philip McMichael, “A Political Economy of the Food Riot”
This article views the food riot as not simply a demand for staple foods, but about the wider political economy of food provisioning. From a world-historical perspective, the food riot has always been about more than food—usually signaling significant transitions in political-economic arrangements. Food riots are, in other words, political, and therefore their interpretation needs to be threaded through endogenous political debates and power struggles, to see the articulation of international economic relations behind protests with local struggles and organized alternatives to existing structures of power. That is, the protests themselves are agentic moments in movement toward an alternative that is best captured in the term “food sovereignty.” Accordingly, the spread of food riots has a great deal to do with a specific kind of rebellion against the political economy of neoliberalism.
Lucy Jarosz , “The Political Economy of Global Governance and the World Food Crisis: The Case of the FAO”
This article examines the global responses to world hunger and food crisis through a political economy analysis of global governance. Using the case of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, it is argued that the steady erosion of the FAO’s leadership and influence comes from tensions within the organization about how to respond to the world food problem. The accommodation of the tensions between a response that emphasizes economic growth and increasing agricultural productivity and that of a human right to food have marked the organization’s history and ultimately constructed it as ineffectual and failing to effectively address world hunger. In examining the responses to the two major world food crises of the last thirty years, it is found that the proximate causes are similar as are the responses. This indicates that the dominant discourse of economic growth and productivity has not been successful in building a socially just and sustainable world food system. The world’s people remain as vulnerable to food price shocks now as they were over thirty years ago.
Shalmali Guttal, “New and Old Faces of Hunger:
Drawing on research in
John Wilkinson, “The Emerging Global Biofuels Market”
This article presents an analysis of the forces currently
responsible for the profile and dynamic of the emerging global biofuels market,
highlighting the increased uncertainties provoked by the financial and economic
crisis. After describing the two major types of transport fuels the article
provides a brief account of the origins of the biofuels industry in the two
principal producer countries, the
Farshad Araghi, “Accumulation by Displacement: Global Enclosures, Food Crisis, and the Ecological Contradictions of Capitalism”
This article develops the concept of accumulation by displacement to denote (1) the global appropriation of under-reproduced labor power (predicated upon dispossession of formerly self- reproducing peasantries) and (2) the accumulation of spaces of surplus nature. From the labor-in-nature perspective, the concept of surplus nature (as distinguished from necessary nature) is utilized to critique the developmentalist view of nature as an (external) object rather than a human relationship internal to the production of social life. This perspective helps to conceptualize the current crisis of global capitalism as a crisis of under-reproduction, of which the food crisis is only one expression. The long food crisis, as conceptualized in this article, expresses the limits of cheap ecology as supported by cheap food regimes and oil regimes. The end of cheap ecology will decisively rule out all externalizing solutions to capitalist crises.
Review XXXII, 2, 2009
Immanuel Wallerstein, ABraudel on the Longue Durée: Problems of Conceptual Translation@
This article reviews the conceptual and linguistic problems of translation in the historical social sciences in general, and that of translating the work of Fernand Braudel in particular. Since this is the fourth translation into English of the same article over a period of 50 years, the differences between the four translations are discussed in detail. The article notes how Braudel relates his concepts to those of four thinkers who were central to intellectual discourse in France in the 1950’s: Lévi-Strauss, Sartre, Marx, and Gurvitch, and to a fifth, Vidal de la Blache, who had ceased to be central to intellectual discourse. The entire discussion always brings Braudel back to the central importance of the longue durée, the key word in the title of the article.
Fernand Braudel, “History and the Social Sciences: The Longue Durée,” translated by Immanuel Wallerstein
This is a new translation of Braudel’s classic article on the longue durée, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its original publication. The article lays out Braudel's concept of the multiplicity of social times and their respective utilities in the analysis of historical phenomena. It specifically criticizes the emphasis on short-term episodic and idiographic history (l'histoire événementielle) on the one hand and the emphasis on the use of eternal concepts in the social sciences, what he calls the très longue durée. He explicates the necessity of analyzing the longue durée (long, but not eternal), as well as what he calls la conjoncture, the cyclical movements within the longue durée.
Review XXXII, 3, 2009
Geoffrey C. Gunn, “Timor-Leste (Former Portuguese
the former Portuguese Southeast Asian colony of
Huei-Ying Kuo, “Agency amid Incorporation: Chinese Business Networks in Hong Kong and
This article fills
the gap between the period of East-West horizontal integration in the sixteenth
through the eighteenth centuries and the resurgence of
the World Safe for
This article attempts to fill in a gap in contemporary world-systems analysis by arguing that international law constitutes an understudied aspect of geoculture. Taking as its point of reference an early work by Hugo Grotius, De Indis, this article illustrates the manner in which the Grotian Heritage, the normative and intellectual foundation of international public order, is readily explicated in terms of world-systems analysis: the international rule of law is not a functional adaptation in its own right but is, rather, the epiphenomenal byproduct of the operations of the world-system. There is an unappreciated “double movement” between international law and the world-system. The world-system governs the historical development of international law, and international law is a primary means of the ideological legitimation of the world-system. The “deconstruction” of the iterable relationship between international law and the world-system illuminates the centrality of geoculture to the modern configuration of international public order.
Review XXXII, 4, 2009
Jason W. Moore, “Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of
Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century, Part I: From ‘
Enrico Dal Lago, “Second Slavery, Second Serfdom, and
Beyond: The Atlantic
the first half of the nineteenth century, agricultural labor in wide areas of
the American hemisphere and of the eastern and southern European peripheries
was mostly associated with large landed estates. In all these areas, production
of specific crops for sale in the world market led to the implementation of
rigidly regimented systems of labor with different degrees of “unfreedom,” from slavery to serfdom to sharecropping.
Staughton Lynd, “Toward Another World”
We can rely on crises in capitalism to continue. Three ideas for how to get to a better world are: 1) Accompaniment, that is, the idea that radical professionals should expect to spend long periods of time among particular groups of the poor and oppressed, walking beside them as equals; 2) Solidarity unionism, that is, an alternative labor strategy based on the self-activity of local groups who then link up with one another horizontally; and finally 3) mandar obediciendo, that is, the idea that rather than radicals trying to take state power, leaders should govern in obedience to what subcomandante Marcos calls “the below.”
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