1st Edition

Rising Powers, People Rising Neoliberalization and its Discontents in the BRICS Countries

Edited By Alf Gunvald Nilsen, Karl von Holdt Copyright 2021
    126 Pages
    by Routledge

    126 Pages
    by Routledge

    Rising Powers, People Rising is a pathbreaking volume in which leading international scholars discuss the emerging political economy of development in the BRICS countries centred on neo-liberalization, precarity, and popular struggles.

    The rise of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has called into question the future of Western dominance in world markets and geopolitics. However, the developmental trajectories of the BRICS countries are shot through with socio-economic fault lines that relegate large numbers of people to the margins of current growth processes, where life is characterized by multiple and overlapping vulnerabilities. These socio-economic fault lines have, in turn, given rise to political convulsions across the BRICS countries, ranging from single-issue protests to sustained social movements oriented towards structural transformation. The contributions in this book focus on the ways in and extent to which these trajectories generate distinct forms and patterns of mobilization and resistance, and conversely, how popular struggles impact on and shape these trajectories. The book unearths the economic, social, and political contradictions that tend to disappear from view in mainstream narratives of the BRICS countries as rising powers in the world-system.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Globalizations.

    Introduction: Rising powers, people rising: neo-liberalization and its discontents in the BRICS countries

    Alf Gunvald Nilsen and Karl von Holdt

    1. China’s precariats

    Ching Kwan Lee

    2. Social mobilizations and the question of social justice in contemporary Russia

    Karine Clement

    3. Mapping movement landscapes in South Africa

    Karl von Boldt and Prishani Naidoo

    4. Uncovering a politics of livelihoods: analysing displacement and contention in contemporary India

    Gayatri A. Menon and Aparna Sundar

    5. A precarious hegemony: neoliberalism, social struggles, and the end of Lulismo in Brazil

    Ruy Braga and Sean Purdy

    6. Neo-development of underdevelopment: Brazil and the political economy of South American integration under the Workers’ Party

    Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos


    Alf Gunvald Nilsen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria. His research focuses on the political economy of democracy and development in the Global South. His most recent books are Adivasis and the State: Subalternity and Citizenship in India’s Bhil Heartland (2018) and Indian Democracy: Origins, Trajectories, Contestations (2019).

    Karl von Holdt is Professor in the Society, Work and Politics Institute, University of the Witwatersrand. Publications include Transition from Below: Forging Trade Unionism and Workplace Change in South Africa; Conversations with Bourdieu: The Johannesburg Moment (with Michael Burawoy); and Beyond the Apartheid Workplace: Studies in Transition, co-edited with Edward Webster, as well as numerous articles. His research interests centre on movements, democracy, corruption, and violence.