My broad research areas are global sociology, comparative-historical sociology, political-economy, and world-systems analysis with thematic foci at the intersections of historical capitalism, war-making, class struggle, and geopolitics. My research currently falls into three interrelated projects: my dissertation project on the political-economy of war-making and collaborative research on the dynamics of global governance and the World-Magnates Project.

Political-Economy of War-Making

In the twenty-first century, U.S. wars have taken an ‘endless’ or ‘infinite’ character. While in the twentieth century, the economic costs of warfare, the participation of workers and citizens, domestic public opinion, and international opposition served, to varying degrees, as checks on the length of war, the twenty-first century is characterized by the seemingly limitless expansion of militarism. This begs the question: What explains the lack of social, political, and economic constraints on the expansion of U.S. warfare in the twenty-first century? While existing explanations rightly emphasize both geopolitical dynamics and domestic social forces, this question demands a closer analysis of the arrangements, capacities, and contradictions of the U.S. war-making apparatus itself. Just as Marx sought the secrets of profit-making beyond the “noisy sphere” of circulation, if one is to seek out the secrets of war-making, it is also necessary to explore the “hidden abode of production”—in this case, the production of and for war. In short, the advancement of capital-intensive weaponry, the professionalization of the armed forces, the expansion of private military companies, and globalization of war-materials production have meant that the political-economic arrangements of the military-industrial complex have undergone a striking transformation during the same period that the United States has dramatically expanded its militarism. Using mixed archival data, my dissertation argues that the reorganization of the military-industrial complex in the post-Vietnam era was instrumental in weakening constraints on U.S. militarism. This reorganization, which mirrored a broader ‘neoliberal project,’ has largely been successful in releasing U.S. militarism from constraints. However, this dissertation also argues that the contradictions of this reorganization have set the stage for the terminal crisis of U.S. hegemony by creating the conditions of a “protection racket” abroad and abandoning a social compact at home.

Political-Economy 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 Dynamics of Global Governance

How (and by whom) has the governance of the geopolitical and global economic arenas been organized in historical capitalism? How have these arrangements come unraveled? How can we understand contemporary arrangements in world-historical perspective? These are the questions at the center of my collaborative work at the Arrighi Center for Global Studies. This work currently includes: (1) research concerning the crises of U.S. world hegemony and the possible future trajectories of the capitalist world system, (2) the Global Social Protest Research Working Group, and (3) the study of global inequalities and international development.

Dynamics of 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)

World-Magnates Project

The World-Magnates Project is a multi-faceted study on the richest individuals in history, or “world-magnates” — the historical equivalents 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, we can address longstanding questions about the historical development of capitalism, processes of creative destruction, and inequalities. 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. (Forthcoming 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.

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.