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Forces of Labor: Workers' Movements and Globalization Since 1870

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Overview

Recasting labor studies in a long-term and global framework, the book draws on a major new database on world labor unrest to show how local labor movements have been related to world-scale political, economic, and social processes since the late nineteenth century. Through an in-depth empirical analysis of select global industries, the book demonstrates how the main locations of labor unrest have shifted from country to country together with shifts in the geographical location of production. It shows how the main sites of labor unrest have shifted over time together with the rise or decline of new leading sectors of capitalist development and demonstrates that labor movements have been deeply embedded (as both cause and effect) in world political dynamics. Over the history of the modern labor movement, the book isolates what is truly novel about the contemporary global crisis of labor movements. Arguing against the view that this is a terminal crisis, the book concludes by exploring the likely forms that emergent labor movements will take in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Forces of Labor is fresh, compelling, and a must read for all interested in labor unrest and the future of the world's labor movements." American Journal of Sociology

"By broadening the geography for understanding labor struggles, Silver shows us that these are going strong in many parts of the world even as they have weakened and fizzled in the North Atlantic. A great contribution to contemporary debates about the politics of contestation." Saskia Sassen, The University of Chicago

"Beverly Silver's new book is a challenge to political economists and economic sociologists and even to those historians who still care about capitalism trajectories. Avoiding the deceptive poles of both "race to the bottom" pessimism and liberal optimism, availing herself of both an immense database and of deep historical knowledge, Silver traces the recurring rises and declines of the world labor movement along two dimensions of capital mobility: its spatial displacement and its shift to new product lines—both in response to labor militancy. Sweeping and detailed, ponderous but readable, comparative and historical, this book takes the political economy of world systems to a new level." Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University

"Forces of Labor is fresh, compelling, and a must read for all interested in labor unrest and the future of the world's labor movements." American Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; Preface and acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; 2. Labor movements and capital mobility; 3. Labor movements and product cycles; 4. Labor movements and world politics; 5. Contemporary dynamics in world-historical perspectives; Appendices; References; Index.

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