Fred BlockResearch Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Office: 2266 SS&H
Office hours: Wednesday 2-4 or by appointment
- Economic and Political Sociology
- Sociological Theory
- Sociology of Welfare
Current Research Projects
The Hidden Developmental State in the United States
Funded by the Ford Foundation
For the last six years, I have been researching the activities of the U.S. government in support of the commercialization of new technologies. In a series of papers, I have documented that these efforts are far more widespread and more successful than most analysts have recognized. The programs are “hidden” because they are rarely discussed by journalists or academics, they run counter to the prevailing “free market” ideas, and they operate in a decentralized fashion that makes it difficult to track their impact. With a group of collaborators, I have completed an edited book on these programs. It is called State of Innovation: The U.S. Government's Role in Technology Development, edited with Matthew R. Keller, and published by Paradigm Publishers.
Karl Polanyi and the Battle of Economic Ideas
In collaboration with Margaret Somers, I am preparing a volume to be published by Harvard University Press on the social and economic theory of Karl Polanyi who is increasingly recognized as one of the major social scientists of the 20th century. Polanyi is particularly important for understanding the economic crisis that began in 2007 because of the originality and power of his analysis and critique of the ideology of the free market that has dominated U.S. politics for the last thirty years.
- Block, Fred. 2012. "Explaining the Transformation in the U.S. Innovation System: The Impact of a Small Government Program." (with Matthew R. Keller), Socio-Economic Review.
- Block, Fred. 2012. "Varieties of What? Should We Still be Using the Concept of Capitalism." Political Power and Social Theory, vol. 23.
- Block, Fred. 2011. "Reinventing Social Democracy for the 21st Century," Journal of Australian Political Economy.
- Block, Fred. 2010. "Crisis and Renewal: The Outlines of a 21st Century New Deal," Socio-Economic Review.
- Block, Fred. 2008. "Swimming Against the Current: The Rise of a Hidden Developmental State in the United States," Politics & Society.
- Block, Fred, and Margaret Somers. 2003. "In the Shadow of Speenhamland: Social Policy and the Old Poor Law," Politics & Society.
- Block, Fred. 2003. "Karl Polanyi and the writing of The Great Transformation," Theory and Society.