Bill Carroll: Grassroots organizations as alternatives in the global economy

William Carroll is a Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada). In this video from the 2012 Global Studies conference, he talks about his research on global politics, and looking at grassroots organizations as alternatives in the global economy. This lecture is part of Bill’s current research program on transnational alternative policy groups and counter-hegemonic struggle:

Milena Kremakova (MK): Tell us more about your research.

Bill Carroll (BC): Shortly after that lecture, I embarked on a year of round-the-world field work, doing site visits at 11 of those alt policy groups, including Focus on the Global South, the Transnational Institute, Centre for Civil Society (in Durban), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Third World Institute and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN). A number of articles from this research have come out recently, including an article in The Journal of World-Systems.

MK: How did you come to do these music videos?

BC: I have done 4 in ten years – not a rate-busting record! I first started writing political music while in grad school, when I was quite active in the Toronto-based Marxist Institute. We are talking late 1970s/early 80s. I did some performing at political events in the 1980s, then my partner and I had kids. My interest in creating music resurfaced as I started writing annual birthday songs for my sons, which were always pitched at a level they could comprehend. As they grew up, the songs did too, so that by 2004, when Blind Eye Forward was written, my older son Myles was turning 15 (there is a reference to this in the music video Blind Eye Forward which we posted yesterday – MK), and was himself becoming quite politically conscious. So the songs began to take a political turn. After I recorded one of them (Do we pull the monster down? – also written in 2004, but for my younger son Wes, who was turning 12) and put some images to it, a close friend encouraged me to put it out into the world. So I did that, via the Net. A while ago some colleagues in Toronto at Socialist Project put that music vid up on their Leftstreamed site. I supplied some interpretive notes for that, and they set it up so the words could be read alongside the images. Leftstreamed gave the same treatment to another music vid of mine, on the 2010 BP oil spill. My younger son Wes is now a professional jazz guitarist (he is just completing his BMusic) and we have collaborated on the most recent three music vids, including Blind Eye Forward. Blind Eye Forward as not been ‘published’ at any other venue than my own website, by the way!

William K. Carroll’s research interests are in the areas of social movements and social change, the political economy of corporate capitalism, and critical social theory and method. A member of the Sociology Department at the University of Victoria since 1981 and a founding participant in the Graduate Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought, he served as founding director of UVic’s Interdisciplinary Program in Social Justice Studies (2008-2012). Dr. Carroll is President of Economy and Society, a Research Committee of the International Sociological Association (2010-2014). His work has appeared in International Sociology, Capital & Class, Global Networks, Globalizations, Sociology, Critical Sociology, Journal of World-System Research, Antipode, Sociological Review, Sociological Quarterly, Socialist Register, Media, Culture & Society, Studies in Social Justice and Socialist Studies. His books include The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class (2010, Zed Books), Corporate Power in a Globalizing World (revised edition 2010, Oxford University Press), Remaking Media (2006, Routledge, with Bob Hackett) and Organizing Dissent (1997, Garamond). You can contact him at wcarroll AT uvic.ca.


Categories: Committing Sociology, Research Profiles, Rethinking The World, Sociologists of Crisis, Visual Sociology

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