Ronaldo Munck is an Argentine sociologist. He completed his PhD in political sociology at the University of Essex in 1976 under the supervision of Ernesto Laclau. Since then he has developed a broad set of overlapping interests under the general rubric of political sociology and more recently the globalisation problematic.
His work on Latin America has been a constant from his first book Politics and Dependency in the Third World: the case of Latin America (1984) which was one of the early developments of the dependency perspective in the area of politics. This was followed by Latin America: The transition to democracy (1989) which promoted a critical engagement with the transition to democracy problematic then in vogue. The successful introductory overview Contemporary Latin America went through three editions (2002, 2007, 2012) and established itself as a key text. This strand of work culminated in Rethinking Latin America: Development, Hegemony and Social Transformation (2013) which brought a Gramscian perspective to bear and sought to provide a critical understanding of current politics from a broad historical perspective.
Munck’s engagement with Irish political sociology was a result of his first academic post at the University of Ulster. This resulted in an overview of Irish history written at one of the most critical phases of the war Ireland: Nation, State and Class Conflict (1985) and was followed by one of the first oral histories Belfast in the Thirties: An Oral History (1987) which examined the republican and labour struggles of another pivotal era. This was followed by one of the first all-Ireland analysis of the economy The Irish Economy: Results and Prospects (1993) which was widely disseminated. More recently since being based in Dublin he has engaged with the new migration which resulted in the path-breaking collection edited with Bryan Fanning Globalisation, Migration and Social Change in Ireland: After the Celtic Tiger (2011).
A constant theme is his work has been the sociology of work and labour movements from a broad comparative and global South orientation. An early statement of a new field then emerging was The New International Labour Studies (1988) set the tone for the new comparative labour studies from below. There was also a still influential overview of Argentina’s powerful labour movement Argentina: From Anarchism to Peronism: Workers, unions and politics 1855-1985 (1986). His work with international colleagues who were an active community of practice in the new labour studies resulted in the collection co-edited with Peter Waterman Labour Worldwide in the Era of Globalisation: Alternative Unions Models in the New World Order (1998). This strand of work culminates with the widely cited Labour and Globalisation: the new ‘great transformation’ (2002) which brought to bear the insights of Karl Polanyi on the transformations caused by globalisation.
The impact of globalisation on his work followed a period in South Africa in the mid- 1990s and resulted in a series of texts seeking to go beyond the sociological wisdom of the time with a more critically engaged perspective. This research programme resulted in Globalisation and Social Exclusion: A Transformationalist Perspective (2005) and Globalisation and Contestation: The Great Counter-Movement (2006) both influenced by Karl Polanyi’s double movement thesis and seeking to foreground the importance of agency. This approach was also applied to the issue of migration resulting in Globalisation and Migration: New Conflicts, New Politics (2008) and that of human security in the wide ranging collection co-edited with Honor Fagan Globalisation and Security, 2 vols (2009).
Munck’s more general interest in the area of political sociology and social theory are reflected in The Difficult Dialogue: Marxism and Nationalism (1986) and Marx @ 2000: late Marxist perspectives (2000) which sought to renew Marxism in conversations with post-modernism. His consistent interest in critical development theory resulted in an influential collection co-edited with Denis O’Hearn Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm (1999) and the forthcoming study Water and Development: An African Perspective (2015).
- "The University Times - New Political Charter Seeks Large-Scale Reform of Irish Universities". universitytimes.ie.
- "Interview – Ronaldo Munck". E-International Relations.
- "Ronaldo Munck - Staff Profile - DCU". dcu.ie.