The Puzzle of Strikes: Class and State Strategies in Postwar Italy

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Overview

This book presents, through an extensive and novel inductive approach, an analysis of the temporal dynamics of postwar Italian strikes in the industrial sector. The author begins by highlighting a set of characteristics in the strike data that call for explanation: the pieces of the puzzle. Then, chapter by chapter, the author uses a broad range of available strike theories - business cycle, economic, hardship, resource mobilization, bargaining structure, political exchange, and Marxist - as clues to assemble the puzzle. The study has the organizational structure of a mystery story, with its sequence of false steps, pat solutions, and unexpected twists and turns. This is characterized in the final chapter of the book, when the causal argument is completely reversed. The book is also novel in its combined use of statistical, historical, ethnographic, and survey material, as well as its view of strikes as the strategic interaction between organized interests. It focuses as much on employers' and state actions as on workers' actions. The book's aim is not merely descriptive, nor does it seek simply to test the explanatory power of existing strike theories. Rather, its goal is more ambitious: to disentangle the causal structure in the historical interaction among the social processes in the economic, institutional, and political arenas.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...worth reading even for nonspecialists....Franzosi succeeds in maintaining the reader's interest and carrying his argument....a brilliant work, and it provides far more pleasant reading than most other works on similar subjects." Industrial and Labor Relations Review

"...[an] interesting book....likely to fully satisfy historians." Labor History

"...a vast and sprawling book, that challenges much of the existing strike literature and ought to become a major reference point in the literature of the future....Franzosi has written one of the most important analyses of strikes to have appeared for some time." Industrial Relations Journal

"...an extremely interesting and provocative book....a thorough and thoughtful piece of empirical work." Political Science Quarterly

"One of the impressive aspects of this work by Roberto Franzosi is that, although the volume includes so much, these threads of many colors are ultimately woven together skillfully into a graceful pattern that tells the story of why workers acted collectively and militantly in postwar Italy; the story is quite complex. ... In both the quantitative and the qualitative analyses, little is left unexplained." American Journal of Sociology

"Seldom does such a lucid and honest study appear... the book is a refreshing discussion of theory and the difficulties of drawing conclusions from social statistics. It is an important book that deserves a general readership beyond experts, and it could be particularly useful for courses dealing with methodology and social science." Choice

"In general, this book is well researched and Franzosi demostrates an ability to marshal the appropriate empirical referents for the concepts of the theoretical perspectives he discusses....Those whose research interests include class conflict, industrial disputes and the institutional context of economic development will find Franzosi's book indispensable to their research and teaching." Anthony C. Masi,Journal of Modern Italian Studies

"...this is the best book on cross-temporal patterns in national-level strikes since Shorter and Tilly's excellent work on France, published over two decades ago. It will resonate well beyond the obvious appeal to those interested generally instrikes or more specifically in postwar Italian political economy. Larry W. Isaac, Contemporary Sociology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables, figures and equations; Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. The puzzle box; 2. Labor-market conditions and bargaining power; 3. When do workers strike? How the economy matters; 4. Organizational resources and collective action; 5. The structure of collective bargaining; 6. Class power, politics and conflict; 7. Mobilization processes: the 1969 autunno caldo; 8. Countermobilization processes: reactions by the state and employers to strike waves; Epilogue; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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