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Forces of Labor


  • 8 b/w illus. 5 tables
  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.55 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: HD4851 .S55 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Labor movement--History
    • Labor disputes--History
    • Capitalism--History
    • Globalization--Economic aspects--History
    • Business relocation--History

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521817516 | ISBN-10: 052181751X)

Recasting labor studies in a long-term and global framework, this 2003 book draws on a major database on world labor unrest to show how local labor movements have been related to world-scale political, economic and social processes since the late-nineteenth century. Through an in-depth empirical analysis of select global industries it demonstrates how the main locations of labor unrest have shifted from country to country together with shifts in the geographical location of production. It shows how the main sites of labor unrest have shifted over time together with the rise/decline of new leading sectors of capitalist development, and demonstrates that labor movements have been deeply embedded (as both cause and effect) in world political dynamics. The book concludes by exploring the likely forms that emergent labor movements will take in the twenty-first century.

• Recasts debates about the contemporary crisis of labor movements in a long-term global perspective • Introduces a major new database on labor unrest events worldwide from 1870 to the present • Shows how the successive relocation of manufacturing capital to lower-wage areas in the twentieth century tended to create movements in each site


List of figures; List of tables; Preface and acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; 2. Labor movements and capital mobility; 3. Labor movements and product cycles; 4. Labor movements and world politics; 5. Contemporary dynamics in world-historical perspectives; Appendices; References; Index.

Prize Winner

Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, American Sociological Association 2005 - Winner

Distinguished Book Award, Political Economy of the World System section, American Sociological Association Honourable Mention, 2005 Sociology of Labor Book Award, Labor and Labor Movements section of the American Sociological Association 2004 - Winner

Honourable Mention, 2005 Sociology of Labor Book Award, Labor and Labor Movements section of the American Sociological Association 2005 - Honourable mention


'… a thought-provoking and valuable work …' New Left Review

'Beverly Silver has written an important, accessible and I think excellent book that contributes significantly to our understanding of workers' bargaining power under global capitalism. … Forces of Labor is valuable as a resource on the classroom and in discussions about the relationship between globalisation and labour. However, it is potentially even more valuable for trade union members as a tool for conceptualising and understanding sources of their bargaining power with managers.' International Socialism

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