Barry Eidlin

Associate Professor                   Barry Eidlin

Stephen Leacock Building, Room 820
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, QC H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-398-6852
Fax: 514-398-7476
E-Mail: barry.eidlin [at]

Office Hours:

Tuesdays: 10:00 - 12:00 or by appointment
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Research Areas

Political sociology, economic sociology, organizations and institutions, comparative historical sociology, inequality and social policy, social theory, logic of inquiry, work, labor, social movements.



(PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2012).

Barry Eidlin is a comparative historical sociologist interested in the study of class, politics, inequality, and social change. More specifically, his research explores the changing relationship between social mobilization, political processes, and ideology in advanced capitalist democracies. His research has examined diverging trajectories of working class power in the United States and Canada over the course of the twentieth century, changing party-class relations in the United States and Canada, intra-class conflict and organizational transformation in the Teamsters Union, and the effect of Walmart on retail sector wages, among other things. Eidlin’s major current project revisits the question of “why no workplace democracy in America?” Starting from the paradox that most Americans take for granted certain basic rights as citizens that they then willingly check at the door when they show up for work, the project first examines the history of workplace democracy, when workers didn't make such a stark division between their economic lives as workers and political lives as citizens. It then explains how this division between economic and political life developed and became entrenched. He is also working on a series of other projects broadly aimed re-theorizing contemporary notions of class identity, ideology, and politics.


Recent Publications


Labor and the Class Idea in the United States and Canada. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in the Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics series) (2018)

Edited volumes:

Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 37: Rethinking Class and Social Difference (co-edited with Michael A. McCarthy) (Bingley: Emerald Publishing, 2020).

Peer-reviewed articles:

"Moral Economies, Mobilization, and Inequality: The Case of the 2018 U.S. Teachers' Strikes" (with Eric Blanc). Forthcoming in Research in Political Sociology vol. 28 (2021).

"Introducing Rethinking Class and Social Difference: A Dynamic Asymmetry Approach" (with Michael A. McCarthy). Political Power and Social Theory vol. 37 (2020).

"U.S. Union Decline, Revitalization, and the Missing "Militant Minority" (with Micah Uetricht). Labor Studies Journal 44(1):36-59 (2019).

The Problem of Workplace Democracy.” New Labor Forum 27(1):70-79 (2018) (with Micah Uetricht).

Election 2016: Labor, Politics, and the Imperative of Organization.” Labor Studies Journal 42(3):226– 32. (2017)

Why is There No Labor Party in the United States? Political Articulation and the Canadian Comparison, 1932-1948.” American Sociological Review 81(3):488-516 (2016).

“Unions and Inequality.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology, Janeen Baxter, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

Class vs. Special Interest: Labor, Power, and Politics in the U.S. and Canada, 1911-2011." Politics & Society 43(2): 181-211 (2015).

Class Formation and Class Identity: Birth, Death, and Possibilities for Renewal.Sociology Compass 8(8):1045–62 (2014).

“Class and Work.” Chapter 4 in Sage Handbook on the Sociology of Work and Employment, Stephen Edgell, Heidi Gottfried, and Edward Granter, eds. (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE, 2015).

“Continuity or Change? Rethinking Left Party Formation in Canada.” Pp. 61-86 in Building Blocs: How Parties Organize Society, Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tuǧal, eds. (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2015).

“‘Upon This (Foundering) Rock’: Minneapolis Teamsters and the Transformation of U.S. Business Unionism, 1934-1941.” Labor History, 50(3):249-267 (2009).

Book Chapters:

"Labor Unions and Movements," Oxford Handbook of Karl Max, Matthew Vidal, Tomas Rotta, Tony Smith, and Paul Prew, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).
Reprinted as "Why Unions Are Good -- But Not Good Enough." Jacobin January 6, 2020.

"Social Class and Social Movements" (with Jasmine Kerrissey, equal authorship), Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, 2nd ed., David Snow, Sarah Soule, Hanspeter Kriesi, and Holly McCammon, eds. (Hoboken: Wiley, 2018).

Book Reviews:

"Review of Strategizing against Sweatshops: The Global Economy, Student Activism, and Worker Empowerment by Matthew S. Williams." Social Forces, published online January 22, 2021.

"Review of Dismantling Solidarity: Capitalist Politics and American Pensions Since the New Deal by Michael A. McCarthy." Social Forces 98(4): 1-4 (2020). 

"Class War on New Ground: Review of On New Terrain by Kim Moody." Against the Current 198 (Jan-Feb): 33-35 (2019).

"Review of When Solidarity Works: Labor-Civic Networks and Welfare States in the Market Reform Era by Cheol-Sung Lee." Contemporary Sociology 47(5):605-607 (2018).

“Review of Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures by Betsy Leondar- Wright.” Contemporary Sociology 45:2 (2016), 206-209.

Popular writing:

Amazon Can Only Claim Their Jobs Are Decent Because American Work Has Gotten So Miserable.” Jacobin, April 10, 2021.

Failed Effort to Unionize Amazon Shows Just How Broken U.S. Labour Law Is.” The Globe and Mail, April 10, 2021.

Amazon Workers Shouldn’t Have to Work This Hard to Win a Union.” Jacobin, April 2, 2021.

When Joe Biden Takes the White House, What’s Next for the Left?Jacobin, January 19, 2021.

Morbid Symptoms Can Persist for a Long Time.” Jacobin, January 9, 2021.

What Could Biden’s Labor Secretary Do?Canadian Law of Work Forum, November 12, 2020.

« Biden a gagné. Et maintenant? » (“Biden Won. Now What?”). La Presse, November 7, 2020.

Whoever Wins, This Election Is Not the End of Trumpism.” Jacobin, November 5, 2020.

« Cette élection ne signalera pas la fin du trumpisme » (“This Election is Not the End of Trumpism”). La Presse, November 5, 2020.

Becoming Labor Secretary Might Not Be the Best Way for Bernie to Aid Workers.” Jacobin, November 2, 2020.

Last Week’s Pro Athletes Strikes Could Become Much Bigger Than Sports.” Jacobin, August 30, 2020.

"Viewpoint: 'The Irishman' May Win an Oscar, But It Shouldn't Win Union Members' Hearts.” Labor Notes, February 5, 2020.

We Shouldn’t Be Nostalgic for Jimmy Hoffa.” Jacobin, January 2, 2020.

Bernie’s Plan for Workplace Democracy Is the Boldest Presidential Plan for Workers’ Rights Ever.” Jacobin, August 22, 2019.

Why I’m a Socialist” (remarks delivered in debate with Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey at FreedomFest 2019). Jacobin, August 20, 2019.

DSA, The Rank and File Strategy, and Organizing the Unorganized.” The Call, July 3, 2019.

What is the Rank and File Strategy, and Why Does it Matter?” Jacobin, March 26, 2019.

Thinking Through Labor’s Future,” Marxist Sociology Blog, March 13, 2019.

Remembering Erik Olin Wright: A Life of Contradiction and Clarity.” Jacobin, February 9, 2019.

"Los Angeles teachers just proved that the common wisdom about unions is wrong." The Washington Post, January 25, 2019.

Unions struggle in the courts, but they have a fighting chance in the streets.” The Washington Post, September 2, 2018 (print edition).

The Supreme Court’s Janus ruling is flawed. Canadian legal history shows why” (with Charles Smith, first author). The Washington Post, June 27, 2018.

Labor’s Legitimacy Crisis under Trump.” Jacobin, July 5, 2017.

(Republished in French as« Crise de légitimité du mouvement syndical à l’ère de Trump », Nouveaux cahiers du socialisme Issue 19, Winter 2018.)

Demographics Are Not Destiny.” Jacobin, December 14, 2016. (Also published in Trajectories: Newsletter of the ASA Comparative and Historical Sociology Section, 28(Fall 2016): 46-48).

The Phantom Limb: Why it Matters That the United States Has No Labor Party.” Jacobin, November 20, 2016.

Long Read: Why Canada has a labor party and the US does not,” LSE US Politics and Policy blog, October 19, 2016.

The U.S. Doesn’t Have a Strong Third Party, and it Hurts Labor Unions the Most.” Washington Post, August 11, 2016.


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

SOCI 211: Sociological Inquiry

SOCI 312: Sociology of Work and Industry

SOCI 386: Contemporary Social Movements

Graduate Seminar:

SOCI 501: Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy


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