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The Future of Labour Movements

The Future of Labour Movements

Edited by:

September 1994 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
After a decade dominated by `neo-liberal' policies and by increasing managerial pressures towards labour flexibility in industrial relations, the role of labour movements is under challenge. In the light of the experience of the 1980s this volume provides an interdisciplinary reassessment of the traditions and future of collective worker's action in Western states. Contributors assess the roles of labour movements as actors in the economic system through such mechanisms as collective bargaining, and as actors in the political arena. Labour movements and the institutions in which they are embodied, particularly trade unions, are also examined in the light of the broader social movements from which they originate.

Bringing together comparative research from a number of countries, this collection presents a unique source of analysis of recent and future trends in labour movements.

Marino Regini
The Past and Future of Social Studies of Labour Movements

Jelle Visser
The Strength of Union Movements in Advanced Capitalist Democracies
Social and Organizational Variations

J Samuel Valenzuela
Labour Movements and Political Systems
Some Variations

Michael Shalev
The Resurgence of Labour Quiescence
Gøsta Esping-Andersen
The Emerging Realignment Between Labour Movements and Welfare States
Richard Hyman
Trade Unions and the Disaggregation of the Working Class
Colin Crouch
The Fate of Articulated Industrial Relations Systems
A Stock-taking After the `Neo-liberal' Decade

Luca Lanzalaco and Philippe C Schmitter
Europe's Internal Market, Business Associability and the Labour Movement
Horst Kern and Charles F Sabel
Trade Unions and Decentralized Production
A Sketch of Strategic Problems in the German Labour Movement

Wolfgang Streeck
Training and the New Industrial Relations
A Strategic Role for Unions?


`Long awaited and exceedingly welcomed, this collection of nine scholarly essays is the first effort by the Research Committee on Labour Movements of the International Sociological Association. To cut to the quick, most contributors doubt the staying power of movement attributes, thoughnone question the long-term viability of unions per se... Over and over again the book's contributors highlight advantages European capitalists stand to gain from the EEC's integrated market, advantages linked to labor's anticipated loss of elan, militancy, and solidarity....

Sociologists eager to try their hand at this kind of cross-cultural research will find much advice of value.... the volume [has] many strengths... the volume rewards careful reading' - American Journal of Sociology

`This excellent collection of papers is the first output from the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Labour Movements. Unlike so many other collections of conference papers, this volume develops a core of interrelated themes throughout in exploring three key challenges facing unions in the 1990s... Regini is to be applauded for organizing nine provocative contributions around these themes. A strength of this collection is the balance in the analysis between environmental effects and social agency' - Organization

`Regini's careful editing has ensured a very high level of coherence of all contributions. He starts off by reviewing scholarly trends in the study of labour movements since the late 1960s and offering possible scenarios for the development of European labour movements in the 1990s... provide[s] a very good introduction to the development of labour politics, both industrial and political, in the 1980s... Illuminates various facets of the key dilemma of labour in the 1990s: how to adapt to the new socio-economic scenario without abandoning the solidaristic values which have underpinned the social democratic project since its beginnings in the 19th century' - West European Politics

`The publication of this volume represents a major advance in the development of a comparative sociological understanding of trade unions and labour movements in advanced industrial societies. It brings together leading members of the ISA Research Committee on Labour Movements, all of who bring to bear an unrivalled depth of knowledge deriving from many years of research and writing in the field. Added spice comes from the highly critical debates which some of the authors conduct with their own previous writings...The volume is brimful of insights and ideas, and deserves the serious attention of all scholars interested in the field' - European Sociological Review

`Makes a welcome and thought-provoking addition to labour studies...Regini has compiled an excellent, eminently useable collection...[it] is not only a crucial resource for those labour movements willing to continue or to reassert this task; it is also a confirmation that security and affluence cannot be guaranteed without the substantive rationality that labour movements are able to embrace'- Economic and Industrial Democracy

`Regini's collection of essays provides a very useful and timely survey of the last decade's developments and possible future changes. A very useful collection of articles, highly recommended' - Political Studies

`The authors are all very well informed and make this book an absorbing and important study' - Labour Research

`Edited collections of conference papers often consist of a few gems surrounded by an expanse of the merely useful and the undoubtedly mediocre. The Future of Labour Movements is a welcome exception, and testimony to the quality of the contributions and the editorial work of Marino Regini. The chapters have been revised and updated from their first incarnations as conference papers delivered at the end of 1989, and cover a wide range of topics: collective action, union memebership, the changing composition of the working class, the fate of corporatism and union strategies for the future...Overall, this is an excellent and important book that is likely to provide a number of key reference points for future debates' - Work, Employment and Society

`Comparative institutional analysis is one of the most vibrant approaches in the social sciences, and this book confirms its centrality to an understanding of current developments in industrial relations' - British Journal of Sociology

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ISBN: 9780803979772