Should prove of interest not only to economists, economic geographers, and labor historians, but also to those engaged in, for instance, cultural studies and political theory." --Environment and Planning
Our Daily Bread: Wages, Workers, and the Political Economy of the American Westby Geoff Mann
A wage is more than a simple fee in exchange for labor, argues Geoff Mann. Beyond being a quantitative reflection of productivity or bargaining power, a wage is a political arena in which working people's identity, culture, and politics are negotiated and developed. In Our Daily Bread, Mann examines struggles over wages to reveal ways in which the wage becomes a critical component in the making of social hierarchies of race, gender, and citizenship.
Combining a fresh analysis of radical political economy with a critical assessment of the role of white men in North American labor politics, Mann addresses the issue of class politics and places the problem of "interests" squarely at the center of political economy. Rejecting the idea that interests are self-evident or unproblematic, Mann argues that workers' interests, and thus wage politics, are the product of the ongoing effort by wage workers to focus on quality in a socioeconomic system that relentlessly quantifies. Taking three wage disputes in the natural resources industry as his case studies, Mann demonstrates that wage negotiation is not simply emblematic of economic conflict over the distribution of income but also represents critical contests in the cultural politics of identity under capitalism.
What People are Saying About This
Brilliantly argued and beautifully written.--Journal of Historical Geography
Brilliant . . . An incisive and convincing argument that places struggles over the wage relationships right at the heart of the 'cultural politics of capitalism.'--New Labor Forum
Provocative and stimulating.--The Annals of Iowa
Profoundly theoretical and compellingly argued . . . a work of stunning originality.--Labor Studies Journal
This remarkable work combines broad theoretical expertise and rich historical case studies to demonstrate that workers' struggles over pay are anything but defensive and narrow. In Mann's compelling account contests over compensation speak profoundly to the everyday lives and the freedom dreams of those who wage them.--David Roediger, University of Illinois
Meet the Author
Geoff Mann is assistant professor of geography at Simon Fraser University.
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