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CFP: The New Populisms and the White Working Class

This volume seeks papers that take the concept of white working class seriously, as both category and thing-in-itself, while focusing a critical gaze on its deployment, use, and misuse.

While a majority of the United States working class did not support the Trump bid for the presidency, research indicates that in key states (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania), white voters identified as working class formed a key part of the electoral victory for Trump. White working class voters who had voted for Obama in 2008 had, by 2016, crossed party lines in just enough numbers to affect the outcome. This has brought the use of the term white working class into the public eye, though in a blurred focus. This volume seeks to bring together scholars and activists from a wide variety of disciplines to examine and assess the terms used to describe the white working class, explore the contours of the new populism, and debate their relationship.

The concept of a white working class, as both an identifiable sub-class, and as an analytic concept, is, and should continue to be, troubling. For many scholars and researchers studying class formation, and questions of class and culture, there is an identifiable working class, understood by their position within the complex relationship of production, distribution, and consumption. Though the working class is bounded by and intertwined with race, ethnicity, and gender, class analysis in itself identifies a distinct group of people bearing similar relationships to capital. Yet the persistence of racism, inequalities of gender, sex, and race, and the magnification of xenophobia and ethnocentrism in public debate demand further reckoning with how class functions, how class identities are formed (or deformed,) and how class is represented.

This volume seeks papers that take the concept of white working class seriously, as both category and thing-in-itself, while focusing a critical gaze on its deployment, use, and misuse. We want to take the term apart, unpack its implication, understand its history, and if we are bold and creative enough, perhaps even come to a different, altered conception of this troubling and contentious phrase. The volume welcomes contributions from across the disciplines, and from a variety of ideological and analytic approaches. While the volume was inspired by events in the United States, we also welcome contributions from across the globe, particularly from non-majority white labor markets. Deadline for abstracts of no more than 500 words to wwcumich@gmail.com on March 1st; Deadline for full papers September 1st

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Posted: February 18, 2019
Tagged: Calls for Papers