There is now considerable evidence that “community unionism” is emerging as a new form of worker organization in many quite different national contexts. This paper aims to look at the conceptual underpinnings of the relationship between ideas about community and union organisation.
The paper is particularly concerned with the impact “community” in two types of national context might have when it is applied to union organization. The contrast provides an interesting demonstration of the relationship between organisational change and contextual specificities.
In the western market‐oriented democracies of first world nations, community unionism may be seen as part of a broader (re‐)discovery of the power of community factors in these highly individualistic societies. In third world nations pursuing accelerated economic growth and social development “community” finds expression in communal loyalties based on localised social relations.
This paper considers differences in how “community” impacts on unionism differ in these varied historical contexts.
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