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Want. Disease. Ignorance. Squalor. Idleness. Taken together, they comprise the “giant evils” expressed in the Social Question—first raised in mid-nineteenth-century Europe to diagnose the crises produced by the emergence of the industrial society. Due to a globalized switch to neoliberalism in the final quarter of the twentieth century, the Social Question has made a worldwide comeback.
The Social Question in the Twenty-First Century maps out the linked crises across regions and countries, and identifies the renewed and intensified social question as a labor issue, above all. The volume includes discussions from every corner of the globe: American exceptionalism, Chinese repression, Indian exclusion, South African colonialism, democratic transitions in Eastern Europe, and much more. The effects of capitalism dominating the world, the impact of the scarcity of waged work, and the acknowledgement of how the dispossessed poor bear the brunt of the crisis is evaluated in this carefully curated volume. And both thorough and thoughtful, it serves as collective effort to revive and reposition the Social Question, reconstructing its meaning and politics in the world today.