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Dario Azzellini

Dario Azzelini


275J Warren Hall

Dario Azzellini holds a PhD in political science from the Goethe University Frankfurt and a PhD in sociology from the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico). His research focuses on worker’s self-management and local self-administration, social movements and commons, with a special focus on Latin America and Europe. He was assistant professor for development sociology and political sociology at Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria, and visiting fellow at the CUNY graduate center, the CUNY Murphy Institute and at the ILR School, Cornell University. He has published several books, book chapters and journal articles on workers’ self-management. He authored Communes and Workers’ Control in Venezuela: Building 21st Century Socialism from Below (Brill 2017). He also co-authored They Can’t Represent Us. Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy (Verso 2014). He is co-editor of The Class Strikes Back. Self-Organised Workers’ Struggles in the Twenty-First Century (Brill 2018) and Ours to Master and to Own: Worker Control from the Commune to the Present (Haymarket 2011), and the editor of An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy (Zed Books 2015). As documentary filmmaker he has been filming in Latin America and Europe. Together with Oliver Ressler he is producing Occupy, Resist, Produce, a series of documentaries on recuperated factories under workers control in Europe.

Research Focus

My overarching research program is comprised of three interconnected areas: a) new forms of workers’ self-organization and collective responses to precarious work conditions including self-management and control; b) local self-government, participatory and direct democracy; and c) new social movements. I consider these three areas to be closely interrelated practices of non-state-centered social transformation. My research in these areas deals with democracy, ecology, labor processes, social justice, the commons, local development, utopia and other relevant subjects in this context of social transformation. Geographically my focus has been Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe; I am, however, expanding my research globally. I describe my work as critical political economy, in the sense that I adopt a materialist conception of history. I collaborate with researchers and actors from across the social and natural sciences, as well as with artists and social movements. Methodologically, I combine theory and empirical evidence with extensive field research, in which I employ a variety of sociological, anthropological and ethnographic research methods. My goal as a researcher is to provide rigorous and complex scholarly analysis that can have an impact both in academia and in public debate.

Outreach and Extension Focus

I pursue an approach that can broadly be defined as public sociology. I disseminate my research findings beyond the academic community in an effort to inform policy and problem-solving strategies. This manifests through: 1) sharing research findings with the groups, sectors and countries that are immediately affected by them and publishing in the relevant language (e.g. workers, social movements and communities); 2) I disseminate my research findings through articles and books accessible to the general public and, especially, through documentary films (which are shown internationally); 3) I collaborate with and provide consulting to institutions, policymakers, political organizations, NGOs and social movements. Also, in cooperation with researchers and activists around the globe, I maintain a multilingual public website on workers’ self-management.

Teaching Focus

My overall goal is to promote critical thinking and active participation as scholars and beyond university. In my classes, I combine lectures with interactive work sessions, including student presentations, group work, multi-media, and discussion. I encourage students to make their own proposals, contribute to the course program, share their opinions and engage with the theses of the course readings. My goal is to teach students to understand concepts and contextualize, to apply theoretical approaches to concrete examples and to further develop analytical approaches out of specific contexts. I want to foster curiosity and understanding about how society functions and creativity and engagement about how to contribute to positive change.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Book Chapters

  • Azzellini, D. (2018). Wir können auch anders – Räte, Arbeiterkontrolle und Selbstverwaltung am Arbeitsplatz. p. 297-315 Wirtschaftsdemokratie neu denken Demirović, Alex (ed.), Westfälisches Dampfboot , Münster / Germany.
  • Azzellini, D. (2018). The Legacy of Workers’ Councils in Contemporary Movements. Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics Routledge, London, United Kingdom.


  • Azzellini, D. (2018). Vom Protest zum sozialen Prozess. Betriebsbesetzungen und Arbeiten in Selbstverwaltung. p. 151 VSA Verlag Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Azzellini, D., & Kraft, M. G. (2018). The Class Strikes Back. Self-Organized Workers’ Struggles in the Twenty-First Century. p. 321 Dario Azzellini and Michael G. Kraft (ed.), Brill, Leiden, Netherlands.
  • Azzellini, D. (2015). An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy. p. 272 Dario Azzellini (ed.), Verson, London/New York.
  • Sitrin, M., & Azzellini, D. (2014). They Can’t Represent Us. Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy. p. 192 Verso, London, United Kingdom.
  • Ness, I., & Azzellini, D. (2011). Ours to Master and to Own: Workers Councils from the Commune to the Present. p. 443 Immanual Ness and Dario Azzellini (ed.), Haymarket Books, Chicago, IL.

Presentations and Activities

  • Occupy, Resist, Produce - Scop Ti. Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler. 2018. film, 34 min..
  • Socialismo (poder popular) en el siglo XXI: Perspectivas y dilemas. VI Seminario Internacional de Estudios Críticos de Desarrollo. Repensando el desarrollo en América Latina: Modelos Alternativos. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas. September 2018. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas. Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico.
  • “Workplace Democracy Revisited: Labour and Practices of Participation, Workers’ Control and Self-Management in Global Perspective. 54th ITH Conference (International Conference for Labour and Social History). September 2018. ITH: Internationale Tagung der HistorikerInnen der Arbeiter- und anderer sozialer Bewegungen. Linz, Austria.
  • The commons, a path of struggle marked by conflict. Our common social future: Commoning and sharing for society, the environment and the economy. A program for a democratic, participatory and transformative social protection Asia-Europe. June 2018. Asia Europe People’s Forum. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
  • Labour as a Commons: The Example of Worker-Recuperated Companies. International Development Studies Visiting Speakers Program. September 2016. Saint Mary's University. Halifax, Canada.