The New Political Economy and Its Culture

Richard Sennett

I look at the practice of democracy not so much as a fixed set of procedural requirements, but as a process that needs to have certain kinds of symbolic markers and consummations that define where people are in relation to each other.

The Commodification of Self

Joseph E. Davis

The shaping and conditioning of our self-understanding by consumption is one form of the commodification of self. 

The Universe in a Grain of Sand?

Johann N. Neem

Those committed to human rights at the global level should seek not to universalize the particular but rather to particularize the universal.

American Culture Facing China’s Rise

Jeffrey C. Alexander and Hans Andersson

How America has long viewed China exerts no small influence on which path Washington will follow in its material and cultural relations with the People’s Republic. 

Watching and Worrying

Jeffrey S. Dill

The author’s interpretive framework truncates the narrative by forcing her to see thick cultural issues only through the lens of social class.

The Social Meanings of Dignity at Work

Allison J. Pugh

Economies of dignity shape what people talk about and how people talk about others.

Poverty and Paradox

Alice O’Connor

Poverty research has become caught up in a paradox of its own making—of diminishing insight into the problem of poverty amid more data about the poor.

We Have Never Been Disenchanted

Eugene McCarraher

Capitalism has been a form of enchantment, a metamorphosis of the sacred in the raiment of secularity. With money as its ontological marrow, it represents a moral and metaphysical imagination as well as a sublimation of our desire for the presence of divinity in the everyday world.

The Self-Assembled Career

Carrie M. Lane

The solution to the unraveling of the social contract of employment may not be to prop up the ailing traditional job but, instead, to imagine what other forms work lives might take. 

Animal Spirits

Jackson Lears

The self-made man and the confidence man have existed in dialectical tension down to the present.

Who Pays for the Buy?

Karen Corinne Herceg

In the long run, we all pay dearly for the carefully crafted commercial illusion that we can hold people to standards on a selective basis.

Wayward Leviathans

David Ciepley

How America's corporations lost their public purpose.

Friedman’s Demon

Phil Christman

Can neoliberalism’s conceptual structure be traced directly to medieval Western Christianity?

The Phantom Economy

Joseph E. Davis

The highly abstract and immaterial phantom economy is inextricable from the “real economy.”

Work and Dignity

Joseph E. Davis

Work is not just an economic matter. Beyond survival, a range of other human values and ideals are at stake.

The Corporate Professor

Jennifer L. Geddes

Exploring the bureaucratization of the life of the mind.

Sustain-ability?

Joshua J. Yates

There seems to be little agreement on what it is that needs sustaining, let alone how we should go about it in practice.

Does Philanthropy Subvert Democracy?

Nick Burns

Is modern-day philanthropy a disease in the democratic body politic?

You Are What You (Don’t) Eat

James McWilliams

The personal diet has become not only a cult; it has become a political statement.

The Distance from Our Food

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft

Distance can breed ignorance of the ecosystems and individual animal lives that feed us.

Snapshots of City Life: Our Top Reads

Stephen Assink

We at Common Place over the past year read numerous articles on issues facing our cities and communities. Here are our favorite reads.

Why the New Flows of Capital Matter for Cities

Stephen Assink

Cities are increasingly being eyed by tech companies for their social dynamism and ability to generate innovation. This will have tremendous consequences for the future of society.

Cozy Up to Whole Foods

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Whole Foods Market is tired of your “whole paycheck” jokes. Recently, “America’s healthiest grocery store” launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign titled Values Matter.

Could Show You Incredible Things—But That Would Be a Trademark Violation

Leann Davis Alspaugh

Taylor Swift’s recent trademarking frenzy is another example of how artists are scrambling to maintain control over their work in the face of the digital tsunami.

My Love/Hate Relationship With Streaming

James Rathjen

It's just not possible to love something that says “be unique, but only as unique as we'll allow you to be.”

It’s the System, Stupid

Ned O’Gorman

In identifying “the system” as the issue of this election, Trump has managed to find a singular concept by which to encompass issues from wage stagnation to political corruption.