Arts & Sciences

Sociology professor receives Berggruen Institute fellowship

Dr. Michael McCarthy, associate professor of sociology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a fellowship from the Berggruen Institute to research ideas for shaping society that reimagine foundational systems and grow from interdisciplinary symbiosis and exchange.

As a Berggruen Fellow, McCarthy will complete a manuscript on democratizing finance, tentatively titled “The Master’s Tools: Using Finance Against Capitalism,” which is under contract with Verso Books. The book explores alternative models of finance, ranging from public banking to sovereign wealth funds and much in between, to understand the barriers to and best paths for achieving greater economic justice and democracy.

“For Dr. McCarthy, this is a tremendous opportunity to advance public discourse through his writing and engagement, and we are thrilled that he has been awarded this opportunity,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Science. “Through his research and scholarship, he has developed a strong voice on topics of economic sociology and political economy. ‘The Master’s Tools’ will continue his work in a substantive way and serve Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit emphasis on social justice.”

In partnership with the University of Southern California Dornsife Center on Science, Technology and Public Life, Berggruen Fellowships are residential programs that offer scholars flexible periods of work and study in the United States and China. The 2021-22 Berggruen Fellows and Researchers will deliver and produce lectures, books, scholarly workshops, colloquia, and academic articles throughout their fellowships.

“This is a rare opportunity for me to work with scholars from across a range of disciplines, who are all thinking in critical and unabashedly bold ways about how our society and world should be organized in the future,” McCarthy said. “My research cluster, ‘The Future of Capitalism,’ is an especially exciting group of public-facing thinkers working across a wide range disciplines, including economics, history, law and sociology. Each member of my cohort is working to solve the puzzles and develop the policy blueprints that can address profound and durable wealth, income, and power inequality in contemporary capitalism. In addition to the new collaborative opportunities and chance to learn from others, the space will be uniquely conducive for me to work on my book manuscript on democratizing finance.”

McCarthy joined the Marquette faculty in 2014. He is the author of the award-winning book, “Dismantling Solidarity: Capitalist Politics and American Pensions since the New Deal,” which explains the marketization of old-age income in the US. He is also a regular contributor to Jacobin magazine and has advanced public debates about economic democracy in venues such as the Washington Post, Boston Review, Renewal and Tribune Magazine.

Founded in 2010 by philanthropist and investor Nicolas Berggruen, the Berggruen Institute develops the foundational ideas and critical analysis needed to unlock enduring progress for political, economic and social institutions in the 21st century. Since its inception, the Berggruen Institute has launched the 21st Century Council, the Council for the Future of Europe, the Berggruen China Center, the Think Long Committee for California and the signature Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture.