I am a comparative-historical sociologist studying labor and labor movements, the dynamics of global capitalism, and the political economy of war-making.

My research currently falls into three interrelated areas: (1) the changing social relations of U.S. war-making, (2) the social foundations of global governance, and (3) the historical dynamics of global capitalism.

Social Relations of War-Making

My primary research is concerned with how the U.S. has been able to wage a series of expansive wars in the twenty-first century without significant disruptions to the everyday lives of workers, citizens, and elites. How have the social consequences of war changed over time? What explains the seemingly “endless” expansion of war in the twenty-first century?

My dissertation, Making Endless War: Neoliberal War-Making and the Social Transformation of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex, aims to answer these questions by investigating the changing social relations of war-making in the neoliberal era. Using newly compiled quantitative data and archival materials, I trace the transnational entanglements of war and capitalism from warzones in Vietnam and Iraq to bases and supply chains circling the globe. In response to multiple crises in the 1970s, military and industrial elites embraced organizational and technological transformations of war at three key moments of its making: On the battlefield, a conscript army was replaced by capital-intensive weapons systems and small, rapid-deployment forces. At the point of production, armaments workers’ structural and associational bargaining power was undermined by geographical and organizational fixes. And in global military supply chains, just-in-time techniques meant increasing emphasis on non-citizen migrant service workers in the logistics networks of war.

My work shows how these transformations have allowed war in the twenty-first century to be waged with fewer social and political constraints than in the past and resulted in a war-making apparatus that required little participation from workers and citizens—facilitating “endless” war. However, these same flexible social arrangements placed disenchanted US industrial workers and precarious migrant laborers at strategic chokepoints, leaving the US military-industrial complex vulnerable to disruption in the twenty-first century.

I have also begun work on a second project in this area, which will focus on the relationship between climate change and U.S. war-making in the twenty-first century.

Social Relations of War-Making Publications

Corey R. Payne. (2023). “From Mass Mobilization to Neoliberal War-Making: Labor Strikes and Military-Industrial Transformation in the United States,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Corey Payne. (2022). “Financialization Feeds Endless War,” Convergence Magazine.

Corey R. Payne (2020). “War and Workers’ Power in the United States: Labor Struggles in War-Provisioning Industries, 1993-2016,” Journal of Labor and Society. Vol. 23, Issue 1: 111-130.

Corey R. Payne (2020). “How do wars affect workers in the United States?” Work In Progress: Sociology on the Economy, Work and Inequality. June 19.

The Social Foundations of Global Governance

The theme of global governance is at the center of my collaborative work at the Arrighi Center for Global Studies. Partly, this has involved (with a team led by Sahan Savas Karatasli) the creation of a new database on global social unrest from 1851 to the present using events reported in the international press, including The New York Times and The Guardian, with the goal of mapping social movements through space and time, and comparing the current period with historically analogous periods of heightened global movements. In addition to the team data collection and analysis, my work in this area (co-authored with Beverly Silver) has been concerned with the social bases of world hegemony—in essence, how social and labor movements have interacted with geopolitics and global governance historically and what an analysis of such interactions can tell us about the present.

Global Governance Publications

Corey R. Payne & Beverly J. Silver. (2023). “Domination Without Hegemony and the Limits of US World Power,” Political Power and Social Theory. Vol. 39: 159-177.

Beverly J. Silver & Corey R. Payne. (2020). “Crises of World Hegemony and the Speeding Up of Social History” in Hegemony and World Order: Reimagining Power in Global Politics, P. Dutkiewicz, T. Casier, & J.A. Scholte, eds. Routledge.

The Historical Dynamics of Global Capitalism

My research in this area focuses on the longue durée relationship between wealth and power between the capitalist core and peripheries. This has involved work on world-systems analysis and methodologies, as well as research into the changing structure of the interstate system.

My work in this area has also included the World-Magnates Project, a multi-faceted collaborative study on the richest individuals in historical capitalism—the historical analogues of today’s billionaires—from the mid-fifteenth century to the present. This project has resulted in a dataset of these individuals, using them as indicators of centers of wealth accumulation that can be mapped in space, time, and industry—identifying patterns of political and economic transformation with the goal of enhancing our understanding of elite networks, uneven development, and social inequality. An article from this project which I co-authored with Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz was the winner of the 2020 Distinguished Article Award from the Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association.

Inequality and Global Capitalism Publications

Corey R. Payne, Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, and Beverly J. Silver (eds.). (2022). World-Systems Analysis at a Critical Juncture. Routledge.

Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, & Corey R. Payne. (2020). “Rethinking Core and Periphery in Historical Capitalism: World-Magnates and The Shifting Epicenters of Wealth Accumulation,” in Mielants, E., & Katsiaryna, S.B., eds., Economic Cycles and Social Movements: Past, Present and Future. London: Routledge.

Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz & Corey R. Payne. (2019). “Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and ‘Coreification’ in the Longue-Durée,” Journal of World-Systems Research. Vol. 25, Issue 2: 395-419.

Daniel S. Pasciuti and Corey R. Payne. (2018). “Illusion in Crisis? World-Economic and Zonal Volatility, 1975-2013,” in Korzeniewicz, R.P., ed., The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances. London: Routledge, pp. 50-64. (Online Appendices)

Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz and Corey R. Payne. (2021). “Spatial Transformations in World-Historical Perspective: Towards Mapping the Space and Time of Wealth Accumulation,” in Spatial Transformations: Kaleidoscopic Perspectives on the Refiguration of Spaces, Angela Million, Christian Haid, Ignacio Castillo Ulloa, and Nina Baur, eds., Routledge.