Invisible Subject(s): Work and Workers in the Global Political Economy
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As argued in the Introduction to this book, despite increased recognition of the importance of poverty for world politics, the policy and academic literature lacks a sense of the way in which the global poor contribute as subjects to world politics via production and work relations. Focusing on the related globalization and global/international political economy literatures, this chapter argues that this is in large part because the contemporary problematic of these literatures has encouraged a particular mode of knowledge to dominate explanations of social change. Academic and popular discussions of all matters global have predominantly asked ‘what is happening’ type questions. It has become common to seek to explain the nature of the beast itself, with reference to technological and market structures as the driving forces of change. In this formulation the everyday lives of people are positioned passively outside the process, receiving the imperatives of global restructuring. For workers this implies that transformation of their everyday lives will follow essentially, necessarily and automatically from new production technologies, the competitive impulses of global markets and the demands of shareholder capitalism. Where agency-centred questions have been raised in the globalization debate, these have tended to focus on the decisions and actions of powerful transnational, state or corporate elites.
KeywordsSupply Chain Trade Union Social Practice Working Practice Industrial Relation
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