Globalization Contested: An International Political Economy of Work

Globalization Contested: An International Political Economy of Work

Globalization Contested: An International Political Economy of Work

Globalization Contested: An International Political Economy of Work

Synopsis

This exciting book brings fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate. It opens up the concept and concrete experience of globalization to reveal the social and political contests that give 'global' its meaning, by examining the contested nature of globalization as it is expressed in the restructuring of work. Through case studies that span from the labor flexibility debates in Britain and Germany, to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, the author examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life.

Excerpt

He mood is shifting in the contemporary globalisation debate. Only a few years ago, talk of the contested and politicised nature of globalisation would have met with scepticism from those who emphasise the sheer economic power of globalising forces. the orthodox popular and academic representations of globalisation have for several decades sustained the image of a powerful economic and technological bulldozer that effortlessly shovels up states and societies. the very discourse of the 'competition state' (Cerny, 1990) effectively sanitised the globalisation process, removing the messiness of politics and leaving only the 'right and necessary' policy measures. As the millennium turned, the picture began to change so that we now begin to see partial glimpses of the push and shove of a social and political contestation that was, in truth, always present. Now we see the news media popularising debates about the power of multinational corporations (MNCs), the plight of the global economy's 'new slaves' and the 'anti-globalisation' protests (Klein, 2000; Bales, 1999; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Panorama, 2000; Channel 4, 2000). the effect is to bring less comfortable and optimistic images of globalisation to our armchairs. At the same time, scholars within international political economy (IPE), international relations (IR) and sociology have called for the essence of politics to be restored to our understandings of globalisation and restructuring (Marchand and Runyan, 2000; Hay and Marsh, 1999; Bauman, 1998; Beck, 2000a).

This book acknowledges and develops the emergent challenge to the economic and technologically determinist representations of globalisation. It is critical of the 'globalist' representations of transformation as an imperative- driven and inexorable process. For people in their everyday lives, there is perhaps no sphere of social life so consistently bombarded with globalist accounts as that of production and work. For states, such a reading reinforces the imperative of a policy agenda that creates a competitive and capital- friendly environment for MNCs. Firms are cast as the primary agents of global change as they restructure towards the ultimately 'lean' and 'flexible' organisation. the combined restructuring activity of states and firms is presented as a fait accompli that demands prescribed responses from individuals and social . . .

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