Using comparative-historical methods and world-systems analysis, my research focuses on the dynamics of historical capitalism, social conflict, and war-making.

My research currently falls into three interrelated projects: my dissertation project on the changing social relations of the U.S. military-industrial complex and collaborative work on the world-historical dynamics of global governance and the World-Magnates Project.

Social Relations of War-Making

My research on the changing social relations of war-making includes my dissertation, Making ‘Endless’ War: Neoliberal War-Making and the Transformation of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex.

The project is concerned with two primary questions: What explains the “endless” character of U.S. militarism in the twenty-first century? And how can such “endless” wars be disrupted? Existing explorations of “endless” wars rightly focus on the role of finance and geopolitics (e.g., post-Cold War unipolarity, a ‘new imperialism’, and the dynamics of hegemonic decline) or the role of domestic political change (e.g., the end of the draft, the lack of sustained anti-war movements, or the internal conditions of hegemonic decline). These explanations are crucial pieces of the puzzle, but they tend to overlook the social relations—especially inter- and intra- class relations—of the U.S. military apparatus itself. By overlooking this central component of “endless” wars, these works offer little analytical help in terms of understanding (or initiating) concrete disruptions to U.S. militarism. The contribution of this dissertation is to bring this “hidden abode” of war-making into the analysis. A materialist analysis of the changing social relations of the U.S. military-industrial complex not only helps us uncover key pieces of the story in how endless wars came to be, but even more importantly, is key to identifying the sources of power and disruption within the war-making apparatus itself. In so doing, this dissertation intervenes in a growing literature on this “labor of empire” – which has thus far been largely focused on the historical labor dynamics of US imperialism and war – that is coming out of the critical logistics literature.
This dissertation explores the transforming social relations of the U.S. military-industrial complex since WWII as a way to understand the causes (and chokepoints) of twenty-first century “endless” militarism.

Social Relations of War-Making Publications

Payne, Corey R. (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.

Payne, Corey R. (Forthcoming). “Delinking from the Warfare-Welfare Paradigm: Militarism, Emancipation, and Social Compact Unravelling in the United States” in De-Linking: Critical Thought and Radical Politics, M. Boatca, ed. London: Routledge.

The World-Historical Dynamics 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 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 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

Silver, Beverly J., & 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.

Pasciuti, Daniel S. 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)

The World-Magnates Project

The World-Magnates Project is a multi-faceted study on the richest individuals in history, or “world-magnates” — the historical analogues of today’s billionaires — from the mid-fifteenth century to the present. By understanding world-magnates as indicators of centers of wealth accumulation that can be identified in space, time, and industry, identifying patterns of political and economic transformation through space and time, with the goal of enhancing our understanding of relationships among elites, the expansion and uneven development of capitalism, and historical processes of globalization. The project is based out of the University of Maryland (College Park) and is currently under the direction of Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz (UMD) and I.

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.

World-Magnates Project Publications

Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio, & 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.

Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio, & 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.

Portuguese translation. Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz & Corey R. Payne. (2020). “Repensando o centro e a periferia no capitalismo histórico: “magnatas-mundo” e os epicentros mutáveis,” in Repensando o Trabalho, as Desigualdades e as Hierarquias: O Sistema-mundo no seculo XXI, Roberto Goulart Menezes, Antonio Brussi, & Jales Dantas da Costa, ed., Editoria Universidade de Brasilia.

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.

Albrecht, Scott, & Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz. (2017). “‘Creative Destruction’ from a World-Systems Perspective: Billionaires and the Great Recession of 2008,” in Global Inequalities in World-Systems Perspective: Theoretical Debates and Methodological Innovations, Boatca, M., Komlosy, A., & Nolte, H., eds. Routledge.