Labor Geographies: Workers and the Landscapes of Capitalism

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Discussions of the geographic transformations wrought by capitalism generally treat corporations as the primary agents of spatial change. We hear of billions of dollars flowing here, factories moving there, venture capitalists opening up new markets, and workers having to "take it or leave it." Yet labor too is increasingly thinking and acting geographically, whether by struggling to impose national contracts; building regional, national, or international links of solidarity; or engaging in debates over local ...
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Overview

Discussions of the geographic transformations wrought by capitalism generally treat corporations as the primary agents of spatial change. We hear of billions of dollars flowing here, factories moving there, venture capitalists opening up new markets, and workers having to "take it or leave it." Yet labor too is increasingly thinking and acting geographically, whether by struggling to impose national contracts; building regional, national, or international links of solidarity; or engaging in debates over local economic development. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the emerging discipline of labor geography. Combining innovative theoretical analysis with empirical case studies from around the world, Herod examines the spatial contexts and scales in which workers live, organize, and work to address particular economic and political problems. The first book-length text of its kind, this is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in working-class life, workers' organizations, and the contemporary dynamics of capitalism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The forward march of labor in geography is cemented by the publication of this book. Using a strong set of theoretical tools, Herod vividly illustrates the political importance of geography for working class organization. Workers today are all too often cast as powerless victims of globalization, forced into competition with one another. This book does the labor movement an enormous service by exploring the political possibilities of strategic local action and transnational solidarity. It deserves to be widely read by scholars, students, and labor activists alike."--Jane Wills, coeditor, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography; Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

"Examining how workers and their organizations, especially trade unions, struggle to shape the landscape under capitalism, Labor Geographies helps break down traditional academic barriers between cultural and economic geography and labor studies. It also compels labor unions to rethink their strategies in geographic terms. In the process, Andrew Herod is contributing to the influence of geography on the development of a new working-class studies."--John Russo and Sherry Linkon, Co-directors, Center for Working-Class Studies, Youngstown State University

"A first-rate introduction to the exciting new interdisciplinary field of labor geography by one of its leading and most influential scholars. Using an integrated and well-crafted blend of theoretical and empirical material, Herod shows how geographical context has shaped the actions of workers and their unions--and how workers and unions have shaped the unfolding geographies of capitalism. I highly recommend this book as a text for senior undergraduate and graduate courses in economic geography, labor studies, labor history, and industrial relations, and as a source of original research for scholars in these fields."--John Holmes, Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

"If, as economic geographers say, all aspects of social existence are necessarily spatial, then what does this mean for understanding what is happening to labor today? Herod provides answers to this question in a compelling and refreshing treatment of space, scale, and labor activism. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be read by everyone interested in the world of labor and industrial relations. In setting out the core concepts of labor geography, Herod communicates complex ideas clearly and achieves that rarest of feats in leaving his readers with new ways of looking at the world and labor's place in it."--Bradon Ellem, Work and Organisational Studies, University of Sydney, Australia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572306851
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/24/2001
  • Series: Perspectives On Economic Change Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Andrew Herod is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Georgia. His research focuses upon trying to understand how the geography of capitalism is made and how workers lives are constituted geographically, particularly within the context of processes of economic globalization. His research has won a number of awards for creativity, including the University of Georgia Research Foundation s Creative Research Medal, the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences M.G. Michael Award, and the J. Warren Nystrom Award presented by the Association of American Geographers. He is editor or coeditor of two books and of numerous articles on organized labor, globalization, and qualitative research methods.
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Table of Contents


Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction: Labor and Landscapes
Chapter 2. Toward a Labor Geography
Chapter 3. Challenging the Global Locally: Labor in a Postindustrial Global City
Chapter 4. Spatial Sabotage: Containerization, Union Work Rules, and the Geography of Waterfront Work
Chapter 5. Scales of Struggle: Labor's Rescaling of Contract Bargaining in the U.S. East Coast Longshoring Industry, 1953¿1989
Chapter 6. Labor as an Agent of Globalization and as a Global Agent
Chapter 7. Engineering Spaces of Anti-Communism: Connecting Cold War Global Strategy to Local Everyday Life
Chapter 8. Thinking Locally, Acting Globally?: The Practice of International Labor Solidarity and the Geography of the Global Economy
Chapter 9. International Labor Union Activity and the Landscapes of Transition in Central and Eastern Europe
Notes
References
Index
About the Author
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