A new scholarly book titled, State Transformations: Classes, Strategy, Socialism was recently published in the late Leo Panitch’s memory by Professor Greg Albo and former doctoral students Stephen Maher and Alan Zuege.
The book originated from a retirement conference in honour of Panitch held at York University in October 2017 and was supported by the Office of the Vice-President, the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Department of Politics, and The Centre for Social Justice. The collection later evolved into a memorial volume after Panitch’s passing in 2020, recalling his life as a scholar, public intellectual, and social activist.
The book focuses on critical – and especially Marxist – state theory and Leo’s central academic focus on the study of comparative politics. It is noted these theories began to lose their central place in the study of comparative politics in the 1980s. This shift occurred as neoliberal policies were transforming the social form and spatial scales of the state, radically restructuring the practices of state economic intervention, and extending the capabilities of the coercive arms of the state. This volume addresses the ‘impoverishment of state theory’ over the last decades and insists on the continued salience of class analysis to the study of states.
The book’s title, State Transformations, reflects several central themes in the comparative study of states: the neoliberal restructuring of capitalist states, the changing economic and political architecture of imperialism, and the prospects of a democratic transformation of capitalist states.
The essays collected on these themes are in honour and memory of Panitch, whose influential body of work has shaped debates on the state, imperialism, and socialism over the past four decades. Contributors of this book include former York students, scholarly collaborators, and friends. Learn more here.