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Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work
Author: Louise Amoore

Bringing fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate, this text reveals 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. The book rejects conventional explanations of globalization as a process that automatically leads to transformations in working lives, or as a project that is strategically designed to bring about lean and flexible forms of production, and advances an understanding of the social practices that constitute global change. Through case studies that span from the labour flexibility debates in Britain and Germany to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, it examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life and argues that contestation has become a central feature of the practices that enable or confound global restructuring.

The restructuring of work in Britain
Louise Amoore

representation has emerged as a bestpractice that is lauded by international agencies such as the OECD. A particular set of meanings of globalisation are produced through the discourse and concrete interventions of a restructuring programme. Hence, globalisation and restructuring are not separable as ‘outside’ cause and ‘inside’ effect. Nor is the programme of restructuring ever complete, uncontested or without contradictions. Flexible workers and a flexible labour market rest upon an array of social practices that translate, enable or confound the policy programme. Viewed in

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work
Louise Amoore

restructuring. In the spirit of this discussion, my concluding remarks should not be read as closing comments. Rather, I am seeking to open up some of the potential terrain for alternative Amoore_Global_08_Concl 158 6/19/02, 1:54 PM Conclusion: the IPE of work 159 modes of knowledge of social change, and a discussion of the utility of the social practice perspective on work and related spheres of life. Problematising global social change Global social transformation has predominantly been communicated to us in processual terms. That is to say, the common-sense accounts

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Unheard voices and invisible agency
Louise Amoore

that workers have with one another, and to the GPE, and how these relationships are historically and discursively constituted. In line with an IPE of social practice, this chapter explores the everyday practices of work that variously enable, contest or confound the emerging social relations of globalisation. The chapter is organised in three parts. The first explores the representation of transformations in work and work organisation within the dominant expositions of globalisation. In what ways are workers rendered invisible by the globalisation discourse? In the

in Globalisation contested
Louise Amoore

continues to represent power as something that is wielded by elite global actors, thus rendering the ‘ordinary’ realms of work and labour secondary concerns to finance and production. I identify the central elements of an IPE of social practice which, I propose, makes everyday practices such as work visible and amenable to inquiry. Orthodox perspectives in IPE IPE as a field of inquiry, a set of questions and a range of assumptions, is a highly contested discipline (Tooze, 1984). Indeed, it is perhaps misleading to consider IPE to be a discipline at all, given that it is

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Louise Amoore

order (Gill, 1995a, Van der Pijl, 1984), or by new social movements engaged in an anti-globalisation struggle (Falk, 1999). While such diverse perspectives have restored political agency to the globalisation debate, I argue that there remains too little attention paid to the contested and contradictory dynamics of social change. This book develops a perspective that views globalisation as, in significant part, contested through and contingent upon structured social practices. Globalisation is imbued with a contingency that rests upon the diverse concrete experiences

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
The restructuring of work and production in the international political economy
Louise Amoore

automatic economic imperative. Though the relationships between states and firms are explored and problematised to an extent in mainstream IPE literature, the contests within, across and around the firm itself tend to be neglected. In this way, globalising forces are treated as though they exist exogenously and are rarely considered as integral elements of a wider set of social practices. So, for example, much of the analysis of the relationship between technology and the firm adheres to some variant of the imperatives of lean production.3 Womack et al. (1990) The Machine

in Globalisation contested
The case for practice theory
Matthew Hanchard

technological configurations of digital maps, and the entanglement with social practices, digital maps are increasingly ubiquitous through a complicated range of possible media. At times, this can negate meaningful analysis of digital map use through data alone: a digital map can be printed out and shoved in a back pocket, committed to memory, used as a back-up resource (just in case), or used in combination with a guide book or local knowledge. In turn, there is increasing complexity and challenge in grappling empirically with digital technology use beyond online-only web

in Time for mapping
Considerations and consequences
Thomas Sutherland

actors in the economic, political, and symbolic structures of society’, and posits them as constituting a space of flows, which he in turn defines as ‘the material organisation of time-sharing social practices that work through flows’ (Castells, 2010: 442). What we see in Castells’ work is an even more explicit historicisation of fluidity: he does not simply represent circulation and mobility as universal categories, but rather, reflects them in relation to a particular set of socio-technical and economic circumstances. The concept of the space of flows is also

in Time for mapping
The restructuring of work in Germany
Louise Amoore

-dependent responses. Yet, despite their competing emphases, neither approach enables us to reflect upon how the notion of a ‘German model’ emerges over time, or on how this apparent model is negotiated, enabled or contested in the light of discourses of global restructuring. In neglecting the contingent historical making of the ‘national’ and ‘global’, the existing modes of understanding obscure the complex intertwining of these terrains of political life. In this chapter I have used an IPE of social practice to shed light on the question of Germany’s distinctive making of

in Globalisation contested