John Krinsky

Position: Associate Professor
Campus Affiliation: City College of New York|Graduate Center
Phone: 212-650-5236
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Columbia
Research Interests: Urban politics, the politics of social movements, and the politics of work, welfare and labor

John Krinsky is associate professor of political science, with an interest in labor and community organizing in New York. He specializes in urban politics, the politics of social movements, and the politics of work, welfare and labor. He is a co-editor of the online peer-reviewed journal Metro-politics and a co-editor of the journal Social Movement Studies. He co-coordinates the Politics and Protest Workshop at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a founding board member of the New York City Community Land Initiative.

Books

marxismJohn Krinsky, Colin Barker, Laurence Cox, and Alf Gunvald Nilsen, eds., Marxism and Social Movements (Haymarket Books edition, 2013).

Marxism and Social Movements is the first sustained engagement between social movement theory and Marxist approaches to collective action. The chapters collected here, by leading figures in both fields, discuss the potential for a Marxist theory of social movements; explore the developmental processes and political tensions within movements; set the question in a long historical perspective; and analyse contemporary movements against neo-liberalism and austerity.

Exploring struggles on six continents over 150 years, this collection shows the power of Marxist analysis in relation not only to class politics, labour movements and revolutions but also anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles, community activism and environmental justice, indigenous struggles and anti-austerity protest. It sets a new agenda both for Marxist theory and for movement research.

free laborJohn Krinsky, Free Labor: Workfare and the Contested Language of Neoliberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)

One of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s proudest accomplishments is his expansion of the Work Experience Program, which uses welfare recipients to do routine work once done by unionized city workers. The fact that WEP workers are denied the legal status of employees and make far less money and enjoy fewer rights than do city workers has sparked fierce opposition. For antipoverty activists, legal advocates, unions, and other critics of the program this double standard begs a troubling question: are workfare participants workers or welfare recipients?

At times the fight over workfare unfolded as an argument over who had the authority to define these terms, and in Free Labor, John Krinsky focuses on changes in the language and organization of the political coalitions on either side of the debate. Krinsky’s broadly interdisciplinary analysis draws from interviews, official documents, and media reports to pursue new directions in the study of the cultural and cognitive aspects of political activism. Free Labor will instigate a lively dialogue among students of culture, labor and social movements, welfare policy, and urban political economy.

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