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Erik Olin Wright: The Greatest Marxist Sociologist of His Time

The essential works of Erik Olin Wright.

Verso Books24 August 2023

Erik Olin Wright: The Greatest Marxist Sociologist of His Time

When the renowned social scientist Erik Olin Wright passed away in 2019 at the height of his intellectual powers, he left behind an unfinished project intended to forge a connection between class analysis and real utopias. 

Michael Burawoy and Gay Seidman have worked on taking this project to completion, resulting in an essay collection that pays tribute to his generative theory, crystalline thinking, inspirational teaching, and personal generosity. Engaging Erik Olin Wright: Between Class Analysis and Real Utopiaswith contributions by Rina Agarwala, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Ruy Braga, and more, is out now.

Vivek Chibber wrote, at the time of Erik Olin Wright's death, that "even though he leaves us an enormous oeuvre spanning more than forty years, it is an agenda abruptly cut short. Those of us who knew and loved him have lost a dear friend. And the Left, showing signs of a revival after years of retreat, has lost one of its most brilliant intellectuals. Erik will be remembered as the most important theorist of class in the second half of the twentieth century, and the greatest Marxist sociologist of his time."

Here we've collected his most essential writing.

Out now: Erik Olin Wright's final work

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Writing by Erik Olin Wright

 

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See all our Author Bookshelves here.

Engaging Erik Olin Wright

Engaging Erik Olin Wright

When the renowned social scientist Erik Olin Wright passed away in 2019 at the height of his intellectual powers, he left behind an unfinished project intended to forge a connection between class a...
How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century
Capitalism has transformed the world and increased our productivity, but at the cost of enormous human suffering. Our shared values equality and fairness, democracy and freedom, community and solid...
Classes
Questions of class, power and distribution have reemerged as central concerns in the public discourse. When we talk about class, we don't always know what is meant. Is class about income or affect ...
Envisioning Real Utopias
Rising inequality of income and power, along with recent convulsions in the finance sector, have made the search for alternatives to unbridled capitalism more urgent than ever. Yet few are attempti...
Class, Crisis and the State
One of the major works of the new American Marxism, Wright's book draws a challenging new class map of the United States and other, comparable, advanced capitalist countries today. It also discusse...
Understanding Class
Few ideas are more contested today than “class.” Some have declared its death, while others insist on its centrality to contemporary capitalism. It is said its relevance is limited to explaining in...
Interrogating Inequality
This lively new collection from one of America’s leading sociologists covers a wide range of theoretical problems of interest to radical social scientists and political activists.The book opens wit...
Alternatives to Capitalism
What would a viable free and democratic society look like? Poverty, exploitation, instability, hierarchy, subordination, environmental exhaustion, radical inequalities of wealth and power—it is not...
The Debate on Classes

The Debate on Classes

Erik Olin Wright’s Classes was hailed on publication, by the American Journal of Sociology, as “almost certain to be the most important book on social classes” of the decade. Wright presented a bol...
Redesigning Distribution

Redesigning Distribution

Volume V in the acclaimed Real Utopias Project series, edited by Erik Olin Wright.Are there ways that contemporary capitalism can be rendered a dramatically more egalitarian economic system without...
Legislature by Lot

Legislature by Lot

Democracy means rule by the people, but in practice even the most robust democracies delegate most rule making to a political class. The gap between the public and its public officials might seem u...
Reconstructing Marxism
Reconstructing Marxism explores fundamental questions about the structure of Marxist theory and its prospects for the future. The authors maintain that the disintegration of the old theoretical uni...

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