Globalisation at work:
unheard voices and invisible agency
he contemporary problematic of globalisation has encouraged a particular mode of knowledge to dominate explanations of social change.
Academic and popular discussion of all matters ‘global’ have predominantly
asked ‘what is happening’ type questions. It has become almost common sense
to seek to explain the nature of the beast itself, making reference to technological and market structures as the driving forces of change. In this formulation the everyday lives of people are positioned passively
and the flexibility discourse
Industrialisation characteristically redesigns and reshapes its human raw
materials, whatever the source … The development of an industrial
workforce necessarily involves the destruction of old ways of life and
work and the acceptance of the new imperatives of the industrial work
place and work community. (Kerr et al., 1962: 193)
Industries and firms almost everywhere are said to be leaving behind the
old, tired, boring, inefficient, staid past and entering into the new, highly
While for much of the world globalisation is associated with growing interdependence and the spread of ‘zones of peace’, in the Middle East the decade of globalisation was ushered in by war, was marked by intrusive US hegemony, renewed economic dependency on the core and continuing insecurity, and ended with yet another round of war in 2001.
In the early 1990s, prospects looked different to some observers: the end of the Cold War, the second Gulf War, and the advance of economic globalisation seemed to provide a unique
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.
humanitarian agencies, the political
currency of liberal humanitarianism and its institutions has steadily waned.
In recent years, liberal order has been flagrantly challenged by a visceral and affective
politics, produced by globalisation itself. Global income inequality increased significantly
with the acceleration of globalisation following the end of the Cold War: from a Gini
coefficient of 0.57 to one of 0.72, between 1988 and 2005 ( Anand and Segal, 2014: 968 ). Then, following the 2008 financial crash, capital doubled
down. While those most
of analysts, particularly North Americans, consider that we are seeing the end
of the post-war liberal order. And they attribute liberal crisis to two fundamental factors: 1)
the frustration of a significant part of American and European society with the results of
economic globalisation; 2) the growing challenge to Western hegemony, primarily from China. Our
suggestion here, however, points in the opposite direction: that the supposed crisis of
‘liberal order’ is a direct and inevitable result of the expansion and success of
the matter more starkly,
be allowed to continue as currently constituted) than the other elements of that
system. The reason for this should be self-evident: humanitarian action is an integral part of
the system; indeed, it can be argued that for at least thirty years, the actions of relief
agencies, above all the international private, voluntary ones, have served as the moral warrant
for liberal globalisation. Only the human rights movement has been more central in this
To be sure, the perceived need for relief NGOs to play this
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
society or the American
establishment this can benefit. For large corporations, finance capital and, principally,
information technology companies, multilateralism is more useful, is it not? Sure, these
companies faced some rules, but they grew most of all during this period of globalisation with
increased multilateral cooperation.
Things are more chaotic now. It is partly a result of the financial crisis. This affected
employment in the US and living standards. In a similar way to Mussolini, who was a more
sophisticated person, Trump appealed to
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