theses are explored. The analysis focuses on five common aspects that reveal a central dominant representation of social change: the identification of exogenous transformative forces, disciplinary imperatives, historical convergence, social prescription and the death of conflict. I argue that it is these assumptions about social change that underpin and perpetuate the contemporary discourse of imperative labour flexibility. Flexibility itself has an amorphous quality that allows it to be applied ‘flexibly’ to describe the many facets of the contemporary restructuring

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Digital photography and cartography in Wolfgang Weileder’s Atlas

CC licence. Permission to reproduce it must be sought from the copyright holder. onto the ‘immutable’. It is the reversed relationship between the transient and the permanent in Sugimoto’s Portraits series (1999) that produces the eerie quality of the images. Photographs of Madame Tussaud waxwork figures preserve a fleeting view of the unchanging ‘bodies’, so that photography’s oft-discussed relationship to death appears inverted, as if the camera’s flash enlivened rather than entombed the historical figures already rendered resistant to ageing and decay (see

in Time for mapping
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work

transform working practices meet with ongoing social struggles and are translated in numerous ways. Out of the Anglo-Saxon drive for individualism in working practices has emerged a reforging of worker identities, with new patterns of alliance and division. Far from a benign and depoliticised workplace, the study of everyday working practices reveals a politics of direct experience that moves as fluidly as the MNC that moves to outsource and disperse production. To pronounce the ‘death’ of workplace politics is to neglect the ability of political life to transform itself

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)

and the death of conflict. I argue that these guiding assumptions about the nature and form of contemporary social change have much in common with the modernisation thesis of the industrial society school. Rather than constituting a fundamental break with past practices, the global process model of social change has recast a set of ideas that are deployed to legitimate a programme of labour flexibilisation. The contemporary fixation with flexibility in work and labour is effectively legitimated and perpetuated via a discursive attachment to representations of a

in Globalisation contested
The restructuring of work in Britain

“Conservative” to this legisation’ (Smith and Morton, 2001: 121). In terms of assessing the means by which the programme of restructuring is exercised, however, it is perhaps misleading to focus wholly on who is wielding the power to promote change. The legislative offensive on industrial relations in Britain cannot be viewed simply as the wielding of power by government and capital, and the disempowering of unions. Following a Foucauldian perspective on the productive capacity of power, it is important to recognise that the proclaimed ‘death of industrial relations’ is

in Globalisation contested