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Grounding Globalization: Labour in the Age of Insecurity

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2915-2
280 pages
June 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Grounding Globalization: Labour in the Age of Insecurity (1405129158) cover image
*Winner of the 2009 Distinguished Scholarly Monograph Prize, awarded by the American Sociological Association Labor and Labor Movements section*

Claims have been made on the emergence of a new labour internationalism in response to the growing insecurity created by globalization. However, when persons face conditions of insecurity they often turn inwards. The book contains a warning and a sign of hope. Some workers become fatalistic, even xenophobic. Others are attempting to globalize their own struggles.

  • Examines the claim that a new labour internationalism is emerging by grounding the book in evidence, rather than assertion
  • Analyzes three distinct places – Orange, Australia; Changwon, South Korea; and Ezakheni, South Africa – and how they dealt with manufacturing plants undergoing restructuring
  • Explores worker responses to rising levels of insecurity and examines preconditions for the emergence of counter-movements to such insecurities Highlights the significance of 'place' and 'scale', and demonstrates how the restructuring of multi-national corporations, and worker responses to this, connect the two concepts
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Preface: A Journey of Discovery.

List of Abbreviations.

1. The Polanyi Problem and the Problem with Polanyi.

Part One: Markets Against Society.

2. Manufacturing Matters.

3. The Return of Market Despotism.

4. Citizenship Matters.

Part Two: Society Against Markets.

5. Strong Winds in Ezakheni.

6. Escaping Social Death in Changwon.

7. Squeezing Orange.

Part Three: Society Governing the Market?

8. History Matters.

9. Grounding Labour Internationalism.

10. The Necessity for Utopian Thinking.

Notes.

References.

Index.

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Edward Webster is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Sociology of Work Unit (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Rob Lambert is the Chair of Labour Studies at UWA's Business School and is the Director of the Australian Global Studies Research Centre.

Andries Bezuidenhout works as a senior researcher in the Sociology of Work Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand.
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  • Examines the claim that a new labour internationalism is emerging by grounding the book in evidence, rather than assertion
  • Analyzes three distinct places –Orange, Australia; Changwon, South Korea; and Ezakheni, South Africa – and how they dealt with manufacturing plants undergoing restructuring
  • Explores worker responses to rising levels of insecurity and examines preconditions for the emergence of counter-movements to such insecurity
  • Grounds globalization in the everyday lives of workers, their households and their communities
  • Highlights the significance of ‘place’ and ‘scale’, and demonstrates how the restructuring of multi-national corporations, and worker responses to this, connect the two concepts
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“Grounding Globalization is a magnificent culmination of work the authors have done previously on South Africa and SIGTUR in particular. It is most certainly ‘grounded’ in the working lives of real people. It is robust and critical social research at its best. Labour analysts and activists will undoubtedly be reading it carefully for years to come.” (Globalizations, February 2009)

Grounding Globalization is a call for a new politics for the social force that labor as social movement represents in the era of global insecurity. Theoretically sophisticated, empirically grounded and politically visionary, it will be read with great interest by students and also by the organic intellectuals of the emerging global labor movement.”
Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City University

“This is an important, insightful, and wide-ranging book that tackles one of the most important issues of our time. Grounding the theoretical and political narrative in empirical case studies, the book is an excellent account of the realities of economic restructuring and the political possibilities facing the global workforce. It makes a major contribution to academic debates whilst also providing important lessons for activists and policy makers.”
Andrew Cumbers, University of Glasgow

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