Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:October 2022 – July 2023
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»A Class For Itself?: The Future of Class Politics«
The view that a crucial precondition for achieving a just society is large-scale collective organisation and mobilisation among the working class was once widely shared among progressive intellectuals. But most contemporary political philosophers are now either entirely silent on questions of class in their discussions of social justice, or are highly critical of such a view, regarding it as outdated or reductive (or both). Developing the work I undertook in my doctoral dissertation, my research question is: can a robust philosophical defence of some version of the theory that class politics remains crucial to progressive social transformation still be offered today?
My claim is that any compelling theory of the contemporary value of class politics must include three components, each of which I plan to work on during my stay at the FKH. First, such a theory must offer a convincing social ontology, detailing the various building blocks of the social structure of economic production in the twenty-first century, and specifying what kind of social group the working class is within this structure. Second, it must provide a persuasive ethics of class politics, describing the conditions under which collective working class agency can be morally desirable. Finally, such a theory must also offer a plausible moral psychology, detailing how working class agents might become motivated to act in these desirable ways. (Cain Shelley)
Research partner:Cain Shelley follows the invitation of Rainer Forst, Professor of Political theory at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, and the Justitia Centre for Advanced Studies funded by the Alfons and Gertrud Kassel Foundation.
Scholarly profile of Cain Shelley Cain Shelley is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at London School of Economics. His doctoral thesis explores the concept of class consciousness, and some of the political practices – municipal politics and activist-led education – that might play a role in strengthening different aspects of it. Before beginning his PhD, he received an MA in Political Science from the University of Leeds, and a BA in History and Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Please find more information about Cain Shelley here.
Main areas of research:Social and political philosophy, history of political thought, social ontology
- »Murray Bookchin and the Value of Democratic Municipalism«, In: European Journal of Political Theory (2022).
- »Activist-led Education and Egalitarian Social Change«. In: Journal of Political Philosophy, vol 29, no 4 (December 2021), p. 456-479.