100 books like Expulsions

By Saskia Sassen,

Here are 100 books that Expulsions fans have personally recommended if you like Expulsions. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Human Condition

Jennifer Banks Author Of Natality: Toward a Philosophy of Birth

From my list on birth, one of our greatest underexplored subjects.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a family that was focused on people, poetry, and politics. My parents both worked with children with disabilities in Massachusetts and my mother ran a daycare center in our house. As a reader, student, poet, and then editor, I’ve drawn on those experiences and expectations, and have searched through books looking for their echoes. Since 2007, I've edited books at Yale University Press where I'm currently Senior Executive Editor. I have a BA from Cornell University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I've also worked in various publishing roles at ICM, Continuum, and Harvard University Press.

Jennifer's book list on birth, one of our greatest underexplored subjects

Jennifer Banks Why did Jennifer love this book?

First published in 1958, this is one of Hannah Arendt’s most influential books and in it she attempts to define the human condition in the aftermath of World War II, developing her concept “natality.” 

It’s a challenging book that I’ve wrestled with and argued with and never forgotten. It includes some of her most powerful and frequently cited passages about birth. Lately, I’ve been returning to its opening pages, in which she discusses the launch of Sputnik into space. 

She saw this launch not as an exciting technological breakthrough, but as a fateful repudiation of our earthly existence, an existence that was defined by birth with possibilities and limitations.

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Human Condition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, "the theorist of beginnings," whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations-from totalitarianism to revolution.

A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then-diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are…


Book cover of In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Citizen Youth: Culture, Activism, and Agency in a Neoliberal Era

From my list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to activism at a young age, inspired by a book given to me by a friend in Grade 10. I also grew up poor; my trajectory into university was unusual for my demographic, a fact I only discovered once I was doing my PhD in the sociology of education. By the time I started interviewing activists for my doctorate, I had a burning desire to understand how social change could happen, what democracy really looked like, and who was left out of participating. I am still trying to figure these things out. If you are, too, the books on this list might help!

Jacqueline's book list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

I’ve loved Wendy Brown’s work since I started reading it while I was doing my PhD back in 2003. I cite her stuff in almost everything I’ve written. This recent book pulls together her vast expertise and insights about political theory, inequality, and democratic practices to explain how neoliberalism has always been anti-democratic, and how it continues to prop up authoritarian styles of leadership, like that of Donald Trump in the US. Key to this, she argues, is how neoliberalism has always made an appeal to ‘tradition,’ which smuggles in patriarchal, classist, and heterosexist notions of the nuclear family, the supremacy of Christian ideals, and a sort of rugged individualism that denies the necessity of a welfare state.

By Wendy Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Ruins of Neoliberalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Across the West, hard-right leaders are surging to power on platforms of ethno-economic nationalism, Christianity, and traditional family values. Is this phenomenon the end of neoliberalism or its monstrous offspring?

In the Ruins of Neoliberalism casts the hard-right turn as animated by socioeconomically aggrieved white working- and middle-class populations but contoured by neoliberalism's multipronged assault on democratic values. From its inception, neoliberalism flirted with authoritarian liberalism as it warred against robust democracy. It repelled social-justice claims through appeals to market freedom and morality. It sought to de-democratize the state, economy, and society and re-secure the patriarchal family. In key works…


Book cover of Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Citizen Youth: Culture, Activism, and Agency in a Neoliberal Era

From my list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to activism at a young age, inspired by a book given to me by a friend in Grade 10. I also grew up poor; my trajectory into university was unusual for my demographic, a fact I only discovered once I was doing my PhD in the sociology of education. By the time I started interviewing activists for my doctorate, I had a burning desire to understand how social change could happen, what democracy really looked like, and who was left out of participating. I am still trying to figure these things out. If you are, too, the books on this list might help!

Jacqueline's book list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Wacquant was educated in France, under Pierre Bourdieu. He brings his French sensibilities and training to the United States, asking fundamental questions about the massive inequality there, how it came to be, and who it is serving. This is one of the books he has written in answer to those questions. I started teaching chapters from this book in a graduate seminar on Urban Inequality. No other scholar does such a precise job of tracing the connections between neoliberalism and inequality in the USA, which pushes poor Black men into prison and poor Black women into the welfare office. It is a sobering but powerful read that really helps you understand how neoliberalism is lived by those who suffer the most under its auspices.

By Loïc Wacquant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Punishing the Poor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The punitive turn of penal policy in the United States after the acme of the Civil Rights movement responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity spawned by the fragmentation of wage labor and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy. It partakes of a broader reconstruction of the state wedding restrictive "workfare" and expansive "prisonfare" under a philosophy of moral behaviorism. This paternalist program of penalization of poverty aims to curb the urban disorders wrought by economic deregulation and to impose precarious employment on the postindustrial proletariat. It also erects a garish theater of civic morality on…


Book cover of Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Citizen Youth: Culture, Activism, and Agency in a Neoliberal Era

From my list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to activism at a young age, inspired by a book given to me by a friend in Grade 10. I also grew up poor; my trajectory into university was unusual for my demographic, a fact I only discovered once I was doing my PhD in the sociology of education. By the time I started interviewing activists for my doctorate, I had a burning desire to understand how social change could happen, what democracy really looked like, and who was left out of participating. I am still trying to figure these things out. If you are, too, the books on this list might help!

Jacqueline's book list on how neoliberalism f*&ks up democracy

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

I have an intellectual crush on Pierre Bourdieu. He has a sexy mind. Unfortunately, he passed away just as I was getting to know his work, back in 2002. Bourdieu wrote a mind-boggling number of books, but I have chosen this one as a good introduction for people who’d like to get to know his work. Practical Reason is actually made up of a series of lectures, all written relatively late in his career. They do quite a good job of accessibly summarizing his key ideas. Bourdieu supported the anti-globalization movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and was a vociferous critic of neoliberalism. Bourdieu’s work helps to explain how inequality is recreated across generations, and why dominant interests tend to shape the trajectory of the state. 

By Pierre Bourdieu, Randall Johnson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Practical Reason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do social classes really exist? Is disinterested action really possible? What do the family, the church, and the intellectual world have in common? Can morality be founded on hypocrisy? What is the "subject" of action? In this new volume, one of France's foremost social thinkers of our time responds to these major questions and to others, thus tracing the outlines of a work that could be called "Pierre Bourdieu by himself."

In these texts, the author tries to go to the essential, that is, the most elementary and fundamental, questions. He thereby explains the philosophical principles that have led to…


Book cover of The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies

Steven K. Vogel Author Of Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work

From my list on how markets really work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first got interested in how markets really work when I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the “deregulation” movement in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. I quickly discovered that deregulation never happened in the literal sense. In most cases, governments had to increase regulation to enhance market competition. They needed more rules to get “freer” markets. This sounds paradoxical at first, but it really isn’t. It makes perfect sense once you realize that markets do not arise spontaneously but rather are crafted by the very visible hand of the government. So I took that insight and I have been running with it ever since.

Steven's book list on how markets really work

Steven K. Vogel Why did Steven love this book?

My view of markets has been heavily influenced by my colleague from the Sociology Department downstairs, Neil Fligstein.

He follows Polanyi in posing a direct challenge to the basic assumptions of economics. He argues that firms seek stability, not necessarily profit maximization. That is, they want to stabilize prices and keep the firm intact.

He also brings power to the center of his view of markets. Incumbent firms engage in power struggles. They use business strategies, like collusion, and political strategies, like lobbying for favorable regulations, to insulate themselves from disruptive competition.

By Neil Fligstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Architecture of Markets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Market societies have created more wealth, and more opportunities for more people, than any other system of social organization in history. Yet we still have a rudimentary understanding of how markets themselves are social constructions that require extensive institutional support. This groundbreaking work seeks to fill this gap, to make sense of modern capitalism by developing a sociological theory of market institutions. Addressing the unruly dynamism that capitalism brings with it, leading sociologist Neil Fligstein argues that the basic drift of any one market and its actors, even allowing for competition, is toward stabilization. The Architecture of Markets represents a…


Book cover of The Theory of Economic Development

David Emanuel Andersson Author Of Property Rights, Consumption and the Market Process

From my list on understanding how societies develop.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been curious about why societies develop, which is why I was drawn to the social sciences as a student. I first encountered attempts to explain development in economics, but found that mainstream models were too neat and abstract to account for my everyday observations. Why are there no entrepreneurs in the models, and why do most economists assume that property rights are unambiguous? I eventually discovered that non-mainstream economic theories and some of the other social sciences are more concerned with reality. Eventually I developed an eclectic framework with a focus on entrepreneurship, institutions, and spatial agglomerations as factors that shape socio-economic development. 

David's book list on understanding how societies develop

David Emanuel Andersson Why did David love this book?

This is the first book I read about the role of entrepreneurs in the economy. I have mixed feelings about it.

It’s filled with insights but it is also deeply flawed. Entrepreneurs drive economic development and engage in “creative destruction.” The market is about change rather than equilibrium. These are both great insights.

But history has refuted Schumpeter’s Nietzschean view that entrepreneurship is confined to “captains of industry” with unusual personality traits, and his attempts to explain business cycles is unpersuasive.  

By Joseph A. Schumpeter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Theory of Economic Development as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) is one of the most fascinating and influential economists of the twentieth century, renowned for his brilliant and unorthodox insights into the nature of capitalism. His students include leading economists such as Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow and the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

The Theory of Economic Development is one of Schumpeter's most important books and the one that made him famous. He poses a fundamental question: why does economic development proceed cyclically rather than evenly? Turning prevailing economic theory, which approached economics as equilibrium, on its head, Schumpeter argues it is because economics…


Book cover of The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success

Joseph A. Scimecca Author Of The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology

From my list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am currently a Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, a Research I Institution, and have now published 9 books. Until I wrote the book Christianity and Sociological Theory, I was a traditional sociologist, one who abided by the tenet of the discipline to profess neutrality in one’s scholarly work. My book, The Not So Outrageous Idea of a Christian Sociology, is not only my most controversial book, given its criticism of contemporary sociology, but also my most personal book.

Joseph's book list on scholarship on sociology and the Christian religion

Joseph A. Scimecca Why did Joseph love this book?

This book argues that Christianity provided the foundation for reason which led to the beginnings of science. It makes the case that Christianity alone embraced logic and deductive thinking as the basis for freedom and progress and is responsible for the most significant intellectual, political, scientific, and economic breakthroughs of the past millennium.

Additionally, it is a very well-written book, which is usually not the case for academic works. 

By Rodney Stark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Victory of Reason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many books have been written about the success of the West, analyzing why Europe was able to pull ahead of the rest of the world by the end of the Middle Ages. The most common explanations cite the West’s superior geography, commerce, and technology. Completely overlooked is the fact that faith in reason, rooted in Christianity’s commitment to rational theology, made all these developments possible. Simply put, the conventional wisdom that Western success depended upon overcoming religious barriers to progress is utter nonsense.In The Victory of Reason, Rodney Stark advances a revolutionary, controversial, and long overdue idea: that Christianity and…


Book cover of Living in the End Times

Todd McGowan Author Of Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

From my list on psychoanalysis and capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent a great deal of time exploring how psychoanalytic theory might be the basis for a critique of capitalism. I had always heard the Marxist analysis of capitalist society, but what interested me was how psychoanalytic theory might offer a different line of thought about how capitalism works. The impulse that drives people to accumulate beyond what is enough for them always confused me since I was a small child. It seems to me that psychoanalytic theory gives us the tools to understand this strange phenomenon that somehow appears completely normal to us. 

Todd's book list on psychoanalysis and capitalism

Todd McGowan Why did Todd love this book?

I could really choose any book by Slavoj Žižek as the starting for a psychoanalytic critique of capitalism, but this one is very accessible for someone who has never read him. It also gets into the current dilemmas that are rocking capitalist society. In this book, Žižek shows how psychoanalysis (combined with Hegel’s philosophy) can provide a corrective to the traditional Marxist critique of capitalism. We see here how the attempt to construct an ethical capitalism inevitably fails and obscures a new barbarism. 

By Slavoj Zizek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living in the End Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. But if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal. For this edition, Zizek has written a long afterword that leaves almost no subject untouched, from WikiLeaks to…


Book cover of Capitalist Development and Democracy

Joe Foweraker Author Of Polity: Demystifying Democracy in Latin America and Beyond

From my list on democracy in Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with Latin America as I meandered around Mexico in the summer of 1969. The passion has never died. Within a year I walked into Brazil’s ‘wild west’ to research the violence along its moving frontier, while over fifty years later I am an emeritus professor of Latin American politics at the University of Oxford and an honorary professor at the University of Exeter. An early decision to look at politics from the ‘bottom up’ led to a life-long inquiry into the theory and practice of democracy, and the publication of many essays and books that are available to view on my Amazon author page.

Joe's book list on democracy in Latin America

Joe Foweraker Why did Joe love this book?

The author list combines a leading sociological theorist, a premier scholar of Latin American political economy, and a sophisticated practitioner of statistical analysis who between them have written one of the great classical works on Latin American economy and democracy. 

The book itself combines a rounded theoretical approach, a comparative framework that extends to Europe and North America, and a thorough grounding in Latin American history. Though published some thirty years ago, it remains a must-read for those trying to get to grips with Latin American democracy.

By Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, John D. Stephens

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capitalist Development and Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How are capitalism and democracy related? Does capitalist development today generate pressures for democratization in the same way it did earlier in the core countries of capitalism? Past research has come to divergent conclusions on these questions. Cross-national statistical research has found that capitalist development and democracy are consistently correlated. By contrast, comparative historical studies have argued that economic development and democracy was and is compatible with a variety of political forms, and that in some cases economic development imperatives have led to the authoritarian eclipse of political competition, and that the chances of democracy in developing countries are rather…


Book cover of The Future is Degrowth: A Guide to a World Beyond Capitalism

Gareth Dale Author Of Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age

From my list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I grew up I assumed growth is good. Tomatoes grow, so do people—and economies too? Certainly, recessions were bad: many workers were made ‘redundant’. But as we grew older we noticed that growth continued yet people’s lives were getting harder. Looking back, the 1970s in Britain appears a golden age: almost everyone had plenty to eat, society was relatively equal, and all to a soundtrack of fabulous music. With climate change and other environmental threats it’s getting more obvious with each passing season that a global social transformation is required. These are the questions that have driven my own research, on climate politics, growth ideology, and technology fetishism.

Gareth's book list on Degrowth from a fellow traveller

Gareth Dale Why did Gareth love this book?

On my shelf, there are many outstanding books on degrowth—by Giorgos Kallis, Jason Hickel, and others. But one with the most coffee stains is this one.

I dip into it often because it covers all the angles. And it begins to tackle the ultimate question: If economic growth is trashing the planet, and if growth is the engine of capitalism, then what could come after?

By Matthias Schmelzer (editor), Andrea Vetter (editor), Aaron Vansintjan (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Future is Degrowth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Economic growth isn't working, and it cannot be made to work. Offering a counter-history of how economic growth emerged in the context of colonialism, fossil-fueled industrialization, and capitalist modernity, The Future Is Degrowth argues that the ideology of growth conceals the rising inequalities and ecological destructions associated with capitalism, and points to desirable alternatives to it. Not only in society at large, but also on the left, we are held captive by the hegemony of growth. Even proposals for emancipatory Green New Deals or postcapitalism base their utopian hopes on the development of productive forces, on redistributing the fruits of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in sociology, economic development, and equality?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about sociology, economic development, and equality.

Sociology Explore 138 books about sociology
Economic Development Explore 61 books about economic development
Equality Explore 58 books about equality