Volume 14, Issue 1/2 (2023)

Social Classes, Sociocultures and Habitus in the US
Sophia Harris, Elijah Timothy Pope, Boike Rehbein, Tamer Söyler
The historical arc of many Western capitalist societies like the United States is riddled with exclusionary political decisions and discriminatory policies that have shaped subsequent social structures and their transformations. Many of these early transformations remain embedded within contemporary US society through salient indicators and within the inconspicuous characteristics of social class. Considering that the transition to a capitalist democracy fails to address the structures of social inequality suggests that these structures are more fundamental than the market, democracy, and capitalism. Therefore, by examining the essential characteristics of social classes, sociocultures, and habitus in the US from a global perspective, this research identifies how contemporary American society continues to be plagued by the legacies and traditions of preceding structures of inequality. The empirical data collection for this research relied on qualitative representative interviews to identify five distinct social classes, each with a unique habitus type. These social classes’ hierarchy has remained unchanged, and societal transformations have been rare and ineffective since the colonial era.

Social Inequality in India
Boike Rehbein, Tamer Söyler and Shivramkrishna Patil
This paper examines the multifaceted nature of social inequality in India. It focuses on the relationship between historical legacies and contemporary dynamics. It investigates how the caste system, shaped by late colonial and postcolonial states, continues to impact social structures in rural and urban settings. An in-depth analysis of contemporary village hierarchy, social class, and habitus formation aims to highlight the complex interplay between caste, class, and sociocultural elements. The study identifies 14 social types across three sociocultures, forming distinct yet co-existing hierarchies. It reveals the persistence of pre-capitalist and postcolonial habitus traits and the formation of hybrid habitus resulting from the encroachment of the capitalist urban economy into rural areas. The research emphasizes the significant impact of caste membership on social class, with the marginalized class predominantly consisting of Dalits and other underprivileged communities. The paper concludes that while capitalist transformation facilitates social mobility, the legacy of precolonial structures, colonialism, caste, and the developmentalist state persist and shape social classes, indicating the reproduction of social inequality from colonial to postcolonial times. To fully understand the nature of inequality in India, examining the interplay between historical legacies and contemporary dynamics is crucial.

Saffronization of a Land: Is it possible to separate Hinduism from Hindutva in India?
Arani Basu, Amrita Datta
In view of the growing popularity of Hindu nationalism in India, the purpose here is to ask if Hinduism and Hindutva can be considered as separate entities. In recent times especially under the BJP-led government, India, is witnessing the rise of a regime that negates and deliberately silences all non-majoritarian and dissenting voices. Its sole agenda is to drive Hindutva politics home and for doing so it aims at turning India into a Hindu state built around upper caste Brahmanical patriarchal ideology. Hindutva politics dismisses plurality inherent in orthopraxy and imposes a singular explanation of Hindu philosophy based on caste oppression and communalism. This paper argues that under the current regime, India is witnessing cultural homogenization and Saffronization of civil society with the final goal of normalization of Islamophobia. The paper ends with the observation that such systematic hate mongering is largely possible through media propaganda.

The Far-Right, Climate Change, and the Future of (Climate) Politics
Fabio Braun Carrasco
Accelerating anthropogenic climate change is set to transform the entirety of the social and natural world in the ongoing century. Predictions about the degree of global warming are wide-ranging, which is due to the array of direct and indirect factors that will determine the actual pace and intensity of climate change. Yet, it seems likely that the impact on life on earth will be located somewhere in the range of drastic to truly apocalyptic. While catastrophe looms large, comprehensive mitigation strategies are lacking across all world regions and political systems. In the political sphere, the last decade or so has seen the proliferation and growth of movements on the far right of the political spectrum, which was accentuated by breakthrough electoral successes in some nation states. While many of these nationally organized movements discredit human made climate change as irrelevant or non-existent altogether, they are nevertheless poised to become one of its main profiteers. This is due to the economic, social, and natural destabilization that climate change will most likely cause in the coming decades. This article seeks to offer an analysis of how these two phenomena, far-right political mobilization and human made climate change, might come to interact with one another.

Arming Civilians with Ideology: Turning Party-Affiliated Civil Society Organisations to Repressive State Apparatuses
Aliye S. Volkan
Political polarisation fuelled by hate speech and biased reporting, coupled with growing desensitisation to violence, is creating a worrying environment for oppositional voices against the government in Turkey. Already censored and silenced by Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs) such as the judiciary and police, the opposition now faces the threat of extremist and violent party-affiliated civil society organisations. Through media analysis of interviews of certain political figures and news coverage of the 2013 Gezi protests and the 2015 coup attempt, this study aims to extend Althusser’s concept of Repressive State Apparatuses and show that in the case of Turkey, the blurred lines between the government and the political leadership have led to the formation of ideologically motivated, unofficially government-backed and armed groups that threaten ’out-groups’ through social ostracisation and violence.

Review “Die globalisierte Welt: Genese, Struktur und Zusammenhänge” by Vincent Houben and Boike Rehbein
Tamer Söyler

Volume 14, Issue 2/2 (2023)

Gouldner’s “Critical Theory of Language”: Recovery and Creation of Alternative Definitions of Reality
Eugenia Fraga
The goal of this article is to systematize the "Critical Theory of language” inspired by the work of the late sociologist Alvin Gouldner. In particular, this analysis will focus on the following texts: The Crisis of Western Sociology from 1970, Renewal and Critique of Current Sociologyi> from 1973, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology from 1976, The Two Marxisms from 1980, and Against Fragmentation from 1981. The methodology used is theoretical analysis, which has led to the conclusion that Critical Theory in its Gouldnerian variant is mainly inspired by the traditions of Romanticism and Hermeneutics, Marxism and Psychoanalysis, and has with affinities with the Frankfurt School and the New Left. Additionally, the central concepts of Gouldner’s Critical Theory of language are public debate, rationality, reflexivity, dialogue, and the antinomic distinctions between sources and media of communication, dominant and dominated definitions of reality, and direct and mediated communication.

Rethinking Development: Four questions for a mindset change
Ulrich Müller
The changing global context calls for rethinking development. The necessary mindset-shift can rather be promoted by asking inspiring questions than by giving the right answers. Parting from that idea, the article provides a mosaic of reflections around four questions: What shapes the concept of development? How do the actors involved understand themselves? How do they relate with each other? Which cooperation forms are applied in development cooperation? The result is not a complete picture but an invitation to explore further. Generating open spaces in the in-between of adverse positions – modernisation and dependency, planning and improvising, humankind and non-human beings, the earth’s gift and our work, given solutions and unanswered questions – creates fruitful tensions and a good basis for innovative thought and collaboration practice. It is just the in-between, where development happens and is rethought continuously.

Digital Transformation: From Multicentric World to Binary Empire?
Anna Lena Menne
The research paradigm on the global societal implications of digitization has undergone significant changes, shifting from an initial celebration of Information and Communication Technology’s (ICT) revolutionary potential to a more nuanced understanding of its role in reinforcing and reproducing social inequality. However, a comprehensive sociological understanding of how digitization, as a social transformation, is tied to established structures of domination and inequality, such as global sociocultures, has not yet been established. This paper adopts a critical approach, utilizing a kaleidoscopic dialectic to examine the relationship between digitization and the symbolic residues of the Enlightenment worldview, colonialism, developmentalism, and global capitalism. Drawing on a range of empirical examples and multidisciplinary sources, the paper establishes that digitization is a socially contingent process that is informed by and reproduces past social structures while simultaneously enabling new forms of global social control and the potential to determine order, meaning, and knowledgepower. As such, digitization transforms notions of sovereignty in the contemporary multicentric world, where social control is believed to be negotiated rather than forcefully imposed. Within the social transformation framework, digitization could lead to the emergence of a new global socioculture, raising essential questions about how we can responsibly and sustainably shape its future normative direction.

A city’s endeavour of becoming global: Foreign investment, urban development and segregation in Timişoara (Romania)
Anna Krauß
The development of cities has been closely connected to global processes and the spread of capitalism. Today, even cities of smaller scales experience the impact of global and capitalist influences and embody the processes and consequences in their landscape’s economic, spatial, and social dimensions. This paper aims to investigate a city’s endeavour to become global, what that entails, and what the consequences of such an undertaking are. It analyses how, in the Romanian town of Timişoara, capitalist transformation and city planning policies aimed at making a “global city” result in segregation.

Corruption and Impunity in Mexico
Nubia Zulma Nieto Flores
The study of corruption is quite a complex and multidimensional subject. Recently this subject has been studied from different angles. One of the major causes and consequences of corruption is impunity. Since corruption provides a supportive environment for the development of impunity, and vice versa, the present text aims to analyze the impact that corruption and impunity have had on Mexico in recent years. The methodology of this text is based on in depth reports, academic research, specialized literature, ethnographic observations, statistical reports, and press news. The text is divided into three sections. The first section describes the relation of corruption and impunity in countries with low levels of good governance, accountability, and balance of powers. The second one presents the case of Mexico, where impunity and corruption have caused the killings of journalists, attacks on press freedom, increases of violence perpetrated by criminal groups, rise of violence including torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, violence against women and girls, and an increase of social instability. The third one presents the challenges and vulnerabilities Mexico faces in terms of strengthening the rule of law as a key pillar to conduct Mexico towards a more equal society.

Review: “Marx in the Anthropocene: Towards the Idea of Degrowth Communism” by Kohei Saito
Anay Katyal