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Birkbeck Academic Receives American Sociological Association Book Award

Dr Ashok Kumar received the 2021 Paul Sweezy Outstanding Book Award for 'Monopsony Capitalism: Power & Production in the Twilight of the Sweatshop Age'.

Dr Ashok Kumar standing outside, smiling by a lake.

A book by Dr Ashok Kumar, Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s Department of Management has been awarded the American Sociological Association (ASA) Section on Marxist Sociology’s annual Paul Sweezy Outstanding Book Award.

The ASA is the national professional membership association for sociologists. The Marxist Sociology Section celebrates excellent scholarly work that is informed by Marxist theory.

Monopsony Capitalism: Power & Production in the Twilight of the Sweatshop Age, published with Cambridge University Press, explores the reason behind persistent poor working conditions in certain industries. Kumar demonstrates that capitalism’s underlying laws of competition are intensified under globalisation which, over time, helps to increase the bargaining power of workers. Indeed, this dynamic could alter the future of industrial capitalism. Findings from the book contribute to efforts to establish workers’ rights in sectors plagued by exploitation.

Speaking of the award, Dr Ashok Kumar said: “My book is theoretically rooted in some of the ideas put forward by the great Marxist economist Paul Sweezy, for whom this award is named. To receive an award whose previous recipients such as Kevin Anderson or Geoff Mann inspired me as far back as my teens, is a genuine honour.”

Professor Geoff Walters, Executive Dean of the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, said: “I am thrilled to hear that Dr Kumar has received this award. The ASA’s recognition of Monopsony Capitalism is testament to the importance of research into an industry that continues to be precarious and with poor working conditions.”

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