Monday, March 31, 2014

Delays and Karl Polanyi
I'm just getting back to posting. Several years ago, I began a translation of an article by a famous social scientist named Karl Polanyi. He wrote the article in German in 1922, just a couple years after he had moved from Budapest to Vienna. Vienna as a city greatly inspired him. There are many reasons why the article was never translated into English, one of which is that the article is very confusing and the topic is rather unusual, "Socialist Accounting." His most famous work -- The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time -- is incredibly clear and has many followers, including Nobel Laureate in economics and former Chief Economist at the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz.

Back in January, I decided finally to finish the translation, which ended up being 40+ pages long. Last week, I sent it, along with a preface explaining the article, to an academic journal. Now I'll wait 4-12 months for the academic journal to make a decision about whether to publish the translation and preface. They will send it out to scholars at other universities, who will evaluate the texts. Eventually, I will get to read their anonymous evaluations of texts, as well as the journal editors' judgement. If they (hopefully) decide to publish the text, then I will make changes based on the scholars' criticisms and comments and based on the journal editors' suggestions. This rigorous peer review is one of the great benefits of publishing in an academic journal. Our knowledge is so much improved through this process.

Sociologists use Karl Polanyi's work all the time to talk about globalization and changes in the global economy since the 1970s. For example, University of Michigan sociology professor Margaret Somers (left) and University of California - Davis sociology professor Fred Block (right) use Polanyi extensively. These worldwide changes since the 1970s have greatly reshaped Washington, DC, and many other places. So, the 1922 article speaks to both sociologists and to those who study cities like DC.

Now, I am just getting back in posting mode.

P.S. Block and Somers' new book, The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique, was officially published today! 

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