Dr Charles Masquelier
Summer term office hour: Tuesdays 11-12
Tel: 01392 722828
My research rests on a core assumption, namely that the study of power relations is central to the study of institutions, practices, norms and values making up society. Since some are in a better position to impose and protect their interests than others and at the expense of particular groups, I regard the critique of power relations as an essential component of my sociological imagination. Sociology is, as I see it, a progressive force in society: one serving the development of insitutions, practices and norms capable of maximising the freedom of all, under cooperative conditions of existence.
More specifically, I am interested in rethinking social critique in such a way as to realise its transformative potential, while researching and conceputalising alternative economic and political practices. I have sought to show, and intend to continue highlighting, the role Cole’s libertarian socialist alternative can be expected to play in breathing new life into socialist thought.
Inspired by my interests in Cole’s libertarian socialism, I am interested in theorising the transformative potential of the cooperative sector. I also wish to undertake empirical research on the cooperative sector in the UK and the Western world more generally.
My areas of interests are:
- critical theory (Marxism, Western Marxism, Bourdieu)
- social movements (their evolution and potential for large-scale social change)
- socialist theory (its different forms and contemporary relevance)
- worker cooperatives (how they operate and potential role in large-scale social change)
- neoliberalism (its social consequences and how to adapt critique to this stage of capitalist development)
I wrote a piece remembering the Marxist sociologist Erik Olin Wright for The Conversation UK:
My views on the 2015 Labour Party's leadership contest were solicited for the online magazine Economy Watch:
My first major theoretical research project aimed to revise critical social theory in such a way as to realise its political potential. I proposed to do so by reconciling some of the tenets of Frankfurt School’s critical theory with the libertarian socialist alternative formulated by G.D.H. Cole.
I am now interested in rethinking social critique in the light of contemporary economic, cultural, social and environmental developments and contemporary movements of resistance. The goal is to equip critique with the conceptual tools to achieve unity in the diversity of contemporary struggles for justice.
Critique and humanity-nature relations
A key argument put forward in the above books is the need to include nature within the scope of a social critique with an emancipatory intent. To this end, I explore ways in which typically human struggles for justice can be conceptually articulated with the environmentalist cause.
I have sought to show and intend to continue highlighting the role Cole’s libertarian socialist alternative can be expected to play in breathing new life into socialist thought. My work in this field predominantly aims to reveal the contemporary relevance of this alternative and contribute to the formulation of a theory of social transformation.
Inspired by my interests in Cole’s libertarian socialism, I wish to undertake empirical research on the cooperative sector in the UK and the Western world more generally. I am particularly interested in comparing the effects of different models of worker cooperatives on their members.
I am keen to supervise doctoral students in the following areas:
- social theory
- political theory
- political sociology
... and more specifically:
- critical theory
- society-enviornment relationship
- socialist thought
- critique of and resistance to neoliberalism
- social movements
- worker cooperatives
External impact and engagement
BA (Sussex), MA (Sussex), DPhil (Sussex)
I joined the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology Department in September 2016. Prior to this, I held a post of Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey.