Work-Place: The Social Regulation of Labor Markets

Overview

Challenging the prevailing idea that labor markets are governed by universal economic processes, this significant work argues instead that labor markets develop in tandem with social and political institutions, and thus function in locally specific ways. Focusing on the complex social processes that lie at the heart of the labor market--those of labor control, labor reproduction, and labor regulation--the author develops an innovative political economy approach that is sensitive to the ways these processes are ...
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Overview

Challenging the prevailing idea that labor markets are governed by universal economic processes, this significant work argues instead that labor markets develop in tandem with social and political institutions, and thus function in locally specific ways. Focusing on the complex social processes that lie at the heart of the labor market--those of labor control, labor reproduction, and labor regulation--the author develops an innovative political economy approach that is sensitive to the ways these processes are locally constituted. He also demonstrates how the geographically uneven development of labor markets is currently associated with a deterioration of working conditions, the trading away of workers' rights and benefits, and a downward spiral in labor standards.

Drawing on a critical reading of segmentation and regulation theory, which calls for a simultaneous analysis of economic processes and social institutions, the first part of the book establishes a theoretical case for spatializing labor market theory. The author shows how labor market processes are transformed by the way they operate through space and in place, drawing attention to systemic spatial variability in their structures, dynamics, and modes of social regulation. Presenting illuminating empirical case studies, the second part of the book illustrates some of the ways in which the author's approach to labor market theory can be put to work. Chapters take an in-depth look at skill formation in the context of labor market flexibility, industrial homework and labor market restructuring, workfarist tendencies in labor regulation, and neoliberalism and the geographic reconstitution of labor relations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an ambitious book, incorporating multilayered conceptualizations of local labor markets in ways that push beyond the explanations in neoclassical economic, labor segmentation, and regulation theory of their structures....a truly monumental achievement that is sure to redefine the course of current research in economic and industrial geography, as well as beyond the disciplinary boundaries." --Meghan Cope, Department of Geography, State University of New York at Buffalo, Journal of Regional Science

"...Intelligent and intellectually rewarding...No labor market theorist, or researcher for that matter, can ignore this book." --R. A. Beauregard, New School for Social Research in Choice

"Jamie Peck has written the definitive treatment of labor markets. His approach is at once quite original and provocative, integrating many threads and themes in the academic literature with a rare appreciation of the role that public policy plays (and does not play) in structuring the nature and performances of local labor markets. It is a book that all social scientists can read with profit; it is a book that will make an enormous difference to research in the field over the coming years." --Gordon L. Clark, University of Oxford

"Economists imagine that the process by which workers and job openings are matched is roughly analogous to the buying and selling of personal computers, shirts, or football tickets: regulated by supply and demand, mediated by price. In fact, 'the labor market' is governed by contradictory and intensely conflictual institutions and social norms. Moreover, the forms of social regulation--especially the nature and extent of labor market segmentation--vary from one locale to another. The particular histories of and conditions within these localities matter to how their labor markets operate. Furthermore, these spatial differences directly reinforce unequal power relations between workers and their employers, which in turn shape the location choices of business and the distribution of income.

"Peck's great achievement is to unify these dimensions info one coherent conception. This is a tremendous intellectual accomplishment, which will have a powerful and lasting impact on all the social sciences, not only geography." --Bennett Harrison, Visiting Professor of Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; author of Lean and Mean, and co-author of The Deindustrialization of America

"Jamie Peck's book, Work Place, is an important, path-breaking account of labor's place in capitalist space. In a text that is theoretically sophisticated, richly detailed, incisively argued, and highly accessible, the author proceeds from dilemmas and contradictions inherent in labor power as a fictitious commodity to reveal the complex, spatially uneven nature of the socially imbedded, socially regulated nature of labor markets. Whilst synthesizing much of the best recent work in institutional economics, the regulation approach, and economic geography, Peck goes well beyond it in placing labor markets and institutions in various local, regional, national and supra-national contexts and in showing how workers and work are continually being replaced in Fordism, the crisis of Fordism, and the search for 'after' Fordism solutions. The arguments of Work Place are bound to shape the research agenda on these and many other issues. I recommend it unreservedly." --Bob Jessop, Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University

Choice

"...intelligent and intellectually rewarding...No labor market theorist, or researcher for that matter, can ignore this book."--Choice
Choice

"...intelligent and intellectually rewarding...No labor market theorist, or researcher for that matter, can ignore this book."--Choice
Booknews
From one of the annual symposia sponsored by the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, 19 studies explore the dimensions of the economic and political linkages between trade and the environment as they impact competition in the developed countries and economic growth in developing countries. Among the specific topics are competitiveness and harmonization in the global economy, property rights in north-south trade, the effect of European environmental regulations on the balance of trade, and research needs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572300446
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/6/1996
  • Series: Perspectives On Economic Change Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,326,041
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author


Jamie Peck is reader in economic geography and member of the International Centre for Labour Studies at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively on labor market theory, regional economic restructuring, employment policy evaluation, and the geopolitics of economic governance and social regulation. A research associate of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, his research has been supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the European Science Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund (New York), and the Australian government, while he has consulted to the European Commission, the UK Department of Employment, and numerous local authorities, labor unions, and economic development agencies. He is currently researching the political economy of "welfare reform" on a Harkness Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Places of Work
I. Making Labor Markets
2. Making Workers: Control, Reproduction, and Regulation
3. Structuring the Labor Market: A Segmentation Approach
4. Locating the Local Labor Market: Segmentation, Regulation, Space
II. Placing Labor Markets
5. Flexibilizing Labor: Insecure Work in Unstable Places
6. Domesticating Work: Restructuring at Work, Restructuring at Home
7. Building Workfare States: Institutions of Labor Regulation
8. Localizing Labor: Geopolitics of Labor Regulation
9. Epilogue: Local Dialectics of Labor
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