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Collective Mobilization in Changing Conditions

Worker Collectivity in a Turbulent Age

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  • © 2019


  • Analyses a production facility, its workers, management, and the internal/external factors from three distinct vantage points in time
  • Provides an in-depth look at how western institutions might adopt or adjust labour processes to be more like that of the Scandinavia model
  • Forms part of a tradition of ethnographic studies of workplaces, part of a revival of attentiveness to narratives of factory life

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About this book

This book presents the first published account in English of Sverre Lysgaard's theory of the ‘worker collectivity’ – a theory of an informal protective organisation among subordinate employees, which so far has been unknown outside Scandinavia.

Lysgaard’s theory espouses that workers collectively form a buffer against management to protect themselves from the technical/economic power, which controls their working lives. The authors have returned to the same Norwegian factory Lysgaard studied in the 1950s to carry out ethnographic fieldwork in the 1980s and 2010s, and investigate the changing nature of the production, labour processes and management strategies. Through analysis that extends over 50 years of factory life, this research documents shifting power relations between workers and employers during times of changing institutional structures, globalisation, and worker solidarity. A revised version of the theory is also presented as an answer to some of the uncovered deficiencies in the original framework. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of the sociology of work, labour studies, business management and organisation studies.

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Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Factory Life and the Worker Collectivity

  2. Developments of the Theory of the Worker Collectivity

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden

    Jonas Axelsson

  • Østfold University College, Halden, Norway

    Jan Ch. Karlsson, Egil J. Skorstad

About the authors

Jonas Axelsson is Lecturer in the Department of Working Life Science, Karlstad University Sweden.

Jan Ch. Karlsson is Professor Emeritus at Østfold University College, Norway.

Egil J. Skorstad is Professor Emeritus at Østfold University College, Norway.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Collective Mobilization in Changing Conditions

  • Book Subtitle: Worker Collectivity in a Turbulent Age

  • Authors: Jonas Axelsson, Jan Ch. Karlsson, Egil J. Skorstad

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-19189-4Published: 13 June 2019

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-19192-4Published: 14 August 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-19190-0Published: 29 May 2019

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 207

  • Number of Illustrations: 10 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Sociology of Work, Labor History, Globalization, Social Structure, Social Inequality

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