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Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2018

Daniel B. Cornfield, Jonathan S. Coley, Larry W. Isaac and Dennis C. Dickerson

As a site of contestation among job seekers, workers, and managers, the bureaucratic workplace both reproduces and erodes occupational race segregation and racial status…

Abstract

As a site of contestation among job seekers, workers, and managers, the bureaucratic workplace both reproduces and erodes occupational race segregation and racial status hierarchies. Much sociological research has examined the reproduction of racial inequality at work; however, little research has examined how desegregationist forces, including civil rights movement values, enter and permeate bureaucratic workplaces into the broader polity. Our purpose in this chapter is to introduce and typologize what we refer to as “occupational activism,” defined as socially transformative individual and collective action that is conducted and realized through an occupational role or occupational community. We empirically induce and present a typology from our study of the half-century-long, post-mobilization occupational careers of over 60 veterans of the nonviolent Nashville civil rights movement of the early 1960s. The fourfold typology of occupational activism is framed in the “new” sociology of work, which emphasizes the role of worker agency and activism in determining worker life chances, and in the “varieties of activism” perspective, which treats the typology as a coherent regime of activist roles in the dialogical diffusion of civil rights movement values into, within, and out of workplaces. We conclude with a research agenda on how bureaucratic workplaces nurture and stymie occupational activism as a racially desegregationist force at work and in the broader polity.

Details

Race, Identity and Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-501-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Alice Rangel de Paiva Abreu is Director of the Office of Science and Technology of the Organization of American States in Washington DC, and Professor of Sociology at the Federal…

Abstract

Alice Rangel de Paiva Abreu is Director of the Office of Science and Technology of the Organization of American States in Washington DC, and Professor of Sociology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For three years she was Vice President of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association and President of RC30 Sociology of Work. Her research interests include industrial restructuring and gender and work. alice.abreu@br.inter.net Graciela Bensusán is a professor/researcher at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, and is also affiliated with FLACSO in Mexico City. She is the author of numerous books and articles on comparative labor policy, organizations, and institutions, including Trabajo y Trabajadores en el México Contemporáneo (co-editor, 2000), which received the Latin American Studies Association Labor Studies Section award for best book. bensusan@servidor.unam.mx Leni Beukema is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies in the Department of General Social Sciences at the University of Utrecht. Her research activities and publications have – beside matters concerning labor movements – focussed on quality and organization of work, network-organizations and time management, and globalization/localization at work. l.beukema@fss.uu.nl Bob Carter is Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department, the University of Leicester, UK. His original interests were focused on the class position of white-collar workers and the nature of their organizations. He has taught trade unionists, has written on labor process theory and the distinctiveness of public sector employment, and is currently developing research on comparative US/UK union strategies. bc20@leicester.ac.uk Harry Coenen is a Professor of Social Sciences (labor studies) in the Department of General Social Sciences at the University of Utrecht. His research activities and publications include among others the theories of structuration and the risk-society, citizenship and social participation, union movements and labor relations and the research methodology of action research. h.coenen@fss.uu.nl Maria Lorena Cook is associate professor in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. A political scientist, she has published widely on Mexican labor politics, labor reform, regional integration, and transnational movements. Professor Cook is writing a book on labor law reform and union responses in Latin America. MLC13@cornell.edu Rae Cooper teaches industrial relations in Work and Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney. Rae’s research addresses organising and membership renewal strategies of Australian unions. In 2002, she edited a special edition of Labour History on union organising and mobilisation in Australia and New Zealand. Rae is an active union member and the Chair of the New South Wales Working Women’s Centre. r.cooper@econ.usyd.edu.au Daniel B. Cornfield is Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and Editor of Work and Occupations. His research has addressed the growth, decline and revitalization of labor movements, the wellbeing of immigrants, changing workplace social organization, the employment relationship, and work & family. Among his recent publications is his volume co-edited with Randy Hodson, Worlds of Work: Building an International Sociology of Work (Kluwer/Plenum, 2002). daniel.b.cornfield@vanderbilt.edu Rick Delbridge is Professor in Organizational Analysis at Cardiff Business School. His research interests include the changing nature of work and organizational innovation. He is author of Life on the Line in Contemporary Manufacturing (Oxford University Press) and co-editor of Manufacturing in Transition (Routledge). Peter Fairbrother is a Professorial Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, Wales. He researches in the area of trade union and labour studies. This work includes work on changes in public services, international trade unionism and labour rights and the impact of globalisation and de-industrialisation on labour. He has published broadly in these areas and has made a major contribution to debates about trade union renewal. FairbrotherPD@cardiff.ac.uk Enrique de la Garza Toledo is former Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor in the Graduate Program in Labor Studies at the Metropolitan University of Mexico, and Editor of the journal Trabajo. A prolific writer on labor and work in Latin America, he was recently awarded the National Prize for Labor Research for his work on productive restructuring, firms, and workers in México in the beginning of the 21st century. egt@xanum.uam.mx Edmund Heery is Professor of Human Resource Management at Cardiff Business School. His main research interests are trends in union organising and union representation of workers with non-standard contracts. Professor Heery is an editor of the British Journal of Industrial Relations and an academic advisor to the New Unionism Task Group of the Trades Union Congress. Russell D. Lansbury is Professor of Work and Organisational Studies and Associate Dean (Research) at the University of Sydney. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, his recent publications include After Lean Production: Evolving Employment Practices in the World Auto Industry, with T. A. Kochan and J. P. McDuffie (Cornell University Press, 1997) and Working Futures: The Changing Nature of Work and Employment Relations in Australia, with R. Callus (Federation Press 2002). He is joint editor of the Journal of Industrial Relations. r.lansbury@econ.usyd.edu.au Héctor Lucena is Professor of Labor Relations and Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Social Science at the Universidad de Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela. He has written widely on processes, institutions, and transformations in labor relations in Venezuela and Latin America. hlucena@postgrado.uc.edu.ve Holly McCammon is Associate Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. Recently she has studied the changing strategies of the U.S. labor movement, particularly its shift from strike activity to legal mobilization. Her interest in collective strategies has also led her to study the U.S. women’s suffrage movement and its use of various tactics and arguments. José Ricardo Ramalho is professor of sociology in the Graduate Program of Sociology and Anthropology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His main research interests have been related to the sociology of work, trade union and working class movements, and development studies. jramalho@ifcs.ufrj.br John Salmon lectures in industrial relations and Japanese management at Cardiff Business School. He is Joint Coordinator of the Asian Pacific Research Unit at Cardiff. His research interests have been largely associated with workplace relations. Currently, he is involved with empirical research of union organising campaigns in both Britain and Japan. Rachel Sherman is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Her dissertation, “Class Acts: Producing and Consuming Luxury Service in Hotels,” is an ethnographic investigation of inequality in interactive service work. Melanie Simms is a lecturer in industrial relations and human resource management at Canterbury Business School, which is part of the University of Kent. Her research interests focus on trade union renewal, specifically attempts to organize groups of workers who are under-represented in the trade union movement. M.Simms@ukc.ac.uk David H. Simpson is a Lecturer in Industrial Relations and Director of the Trade Union Research Unit at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. His main interests centre on trade unions, particularly in South Wales, and has conducted research projects for the GMB, GPMU, UNISON, UNIFI and NAHT amongst others. He is currently a member of the ACAS Single Panel of Arbitrators. Doowon Suh is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of International Studies of Korea University in Korea. His research areas of interest cover social movements, historical sociology, sociology of work, and modern Korean society. His current research project addresses the issue of how social movements influence democratic transition and consolidation in the Third World. dwsuh@korea.ac.kr Lowell Turner is professor of international and comparative labor at Cornell University, in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Among his books are Democracy at Work: Changing World Markets and the Future of Labor Unions (1991) and Fighting for Partnership: Labor and Politics in Unified Germany (1998), along with several edited volumes including Rekindling the Movement: Labor’s Quest for Relevance in the 21st Century (2001). Kim Voss is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century and is co-author of Inequality By Design, Des Syndicats Domestiques, and the forthcoming Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement. Her current research is focused on social movement unionism in the U.S. and elsewhere, on the life history of labor activists, and on the impact of participatory democracy on civil society. Mark Westcott is a lecturer in the School of Business at the University of Sydney. His research interests include union structure and activity within workplaces as well as the effects of corporate structure and strategy upon the management of labor.

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Daniel B Cornfield and Holly J McCammon

Labor movements have played a central role in promoting democracy, the expansion of welfare states, and improvements in working conditions in many regions of the world during the…

Abstract

Labor movements have played a central role in promoting democracy, the expansion of welfare states, and improvements in working conditions in many regions of the world during the last century (Jose, 2002). Despite the central social, political and economic role of labor movements, labor union memberships have declined in many world regions during the last quarter-century. Labor union memberships have declined with increasing global economic competition and capital mobility, the advent of neo-liberal macroeconomic policies, privatization of public services, changes in production technology, the substitution of casual, flexible and contingent employment arrangements for formal, bureaucratic internal labor markets, the restructuring of national economies from manufacturing to services, and mounting employer resistance to unionization (Clawson & Clawson, 1999; Cornfield & Fletcher, 2001; Griffin et al., 1990; Jose, 2002; Olney, 1996; Western, 1997, 1998).

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

Book part
Publication date: 4 July 2024

Larry W. Isaac, Daniel B. Cornfield and Dennis C. Dickerson

Knowledge of how social movements move, diffuse, and expand collective action events is central to movement scholarship and activist practice. Our purpose is to extend…

Abstract

Knowledge of how social movements move, diffuse, and expand collective action events is central to movement scholarship and activist practice. Our purpose is to extend sociological knowledge about how movements (sometimes) diffuse and amplify insurgent actions, that is, how movements move. We extend movement diffusion theory by drawing a conceptual analogue with military theory and practice applied to the case of the organized and highly disciplined nonviolent Nashville civil rights movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We emphasize emplacement in a base-mission extension model whereby a movement base is built in a community establishing a social movement school for inculcating discipline and performative training in cadre who engage in insurgent operations extended from that base to outlying events and campaigns. Our data are drawn from secondary sources and semi-structured interviews conducted with participants of the Nashville civil rights movement. The analytic strategy employs a variant of the “extended case method,” where extension is constituted by movement agents following paths from base to outlying campaigns or events. Evidence shows that the Nashville movement established an exemplary local movement base that led to important changes in that city but also spawned traveling movement cadre who moved movement actions in an extensive series of pathways linking the Nashville base to events and campaigns across the southern theater of the civil rights movement. We conclude with theoretical and practical implications.

Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2016

Daniel B. Cornfield

In eulogizing Randy Hodson, I reflect on and celebrate the development and deepening of Randy’s intellectual legacy as I have seen it unfold and intersected with it at different…

Abstract

In eulogizing Randy Hodson, I reflect on and celebrate the development and deepening of Randy’s intellectual legacy as I have seen it unfold and intersected with it at different points over the years. Our careers commenced in 1980 as labor sociologists were turning their attention toward worker agency in an emerging post-bureaucratic era of neo-liberalism. Our careers next intersected two decades later in an era of globalization through our initiative in building a transnational sociology of work. Randy triumphed as an agent of worker agency as he moved the field into the globalizing, post-bureaucratic epoch of the discipline’s intellectual history.

Details

A Gedenkschrift to Randy Hodson: Working with Dignity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-727-1

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Abstract

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Bob Carter, Peter Fairbrother, Rachel Sherman and Kim Voss

The organising model of trade unionism, developed in the United States since the early 1990s, has been subject to a good deal of scrutiny. Accounts stemming from the AFL-CIO, or…

Abstract

The organising model of trade unionism, developed in the United States since the early 1990s, has been subject to a good deal of scrutiny. Accounts stemming from the AFL-CIO, or those close to it, are, unsurprisingly, enthusiastic and largely uncritical (Mort, 1998). On the left of American social thought, there are critics who contend that the changes wrought by the new leadership of the Federation are of little significance and charges that older forms of business unionism and class collaboration still dominate practice (Moody, 1999; Slaughter, 1999). Between these poles are a number of writers who are supportive, but have criticisms and concerns about aspects of the programme being developed by the AFL-CIO and amongst unions more generally. These issues range from union attitudes towards the Democrats (Brecher & Costello, 1999), through the lack of innovative tactics adopted to gain certification (Bronfenbrenner, 1997), to the absence of internal democracy (Benson, 1999). Questions have also been raised about the very adequacy of the organising model to address the problems facing the working class of America as a whole (Eisencher, 1999a).

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

Book part
Publication date: 19 September 2012

Larry W. Isaac, Daniel B. Cornfield, Dennis C. Dickerson, James M. Lawson and Jonathan S. Coley

While it is generally well known that nonviolent collective action was widely deployed in the US southern civil rights movement, there is still much that we do not know about how…

Abstract

While it is generally well known that nonviolent collective action was widely deployed in the US southern civil rights movement, there is still much that we do not know about how that came to be. Drawing on primary data that consist of detailed semistructured interviews with members of the Nashville nonviolent movement during the late 1950s and 1960s, we contribute unique insights about how the nonviolent repertoire was diffused into one movement current that became integral to moving the wider southern movement. Innovating with the concept of serially linked movement schools – locations where the deeply intense work took place, the didactic and dialogical labor of analyzing, experimenting, creatively translating, and resocializing human agents in preparation for dangerous performance – we follow the biographical paths of carriers of the nonviolent Gandhian repertoire as it was learned, debated, transformed, and carried from India to the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and Howard University to Nashville (TN) and then into multiple movement campaigns across the South. Members of the Nashville movement core cadre – products of the Nashville movement workshop schools – were especially important because they served as bridging leaders by serially linking schools and collective action campaigns. In this way, they played critical roles in bridging structural holes (places where the movement had yet to be successfully established) and were central to diffusing the movement throughout the South. Our theoretical and empirical approach contributes to the development of the dialogical perspective on movement diffusion generally and to knowledge about how the nonviolent repertoire became integral to the US civil rights movement in particular.

Details

Nonviolent Conflict and Civil Resistance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-346-9

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Leni Beukema and Harry Coenen

Spring 2001: negotiations between unions and the Dutch Railroad Company (in Dutch: Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS) were becoming increasingly difficult. At stake were management…

Abstract

Spring 2001: negotiations between unions and the Dutch Railroad Company (in Dutch: Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS) were becoming increasingly difficult. At stake were management proposals to change the order of divisions of routes for engine drivers and conductors: in order to enhance efficiency they should be allocated to distinct sections instead of working throughout the whole country. The workers opposed these proposals, referring to them as “rounds around the church,” by which they indicated the loss of variation in their work. Strikes were called and the public transport system was severely hindered for several days in a period of four months. The clients, as well as their employers, complained about the reliability of the system. The conflict encroached deeply on social life not only because of the failure of public transportation. It also illuminated severe weaknesses of the Dutch system of labor relations, especially the position of unions. Behind the content of the conflict some crucial labor relations came under pressure. This was not only the case for the relations between management and unions who were not able to reach an agreement with enough support of both parties. Also at stake were relations within the unions. Rank and file members no longer felt represented by the union officials. The centralized policymaking in the union blocked discussion, disconnecting union policy from the daily problems of the members. Collective groups organized both union and non-union members and made their own policy. The organization rate of the greatest union in the company for instance dropped dramatically from 24,000 in the seventies to 8,000 members in the late nineties to 3,000 in May 2001.1 In the end, the union dismissed itself from negotiations and admitted its failure in its own core business. The work council came to represent workers on this point. Internally, union officials stopped discussion with their radical members. Union members had to choose between their union membership and their participation in the collective groups. The combination of the two activities led to the exclusion of the union. Traditional union organization reached rock bottom.In our opinion, this case exemplifies the situation of traditional unionism in our country, a position we will explain in this contribution. That does not mean we reject the idea of the revitalization of labor movement. On the contrary, we think that the labor movement has new chances, but that these chances are not necessarily to be found within the existing unions. We see in our country an upheaval of organizational forms without the unions, as illustrated by the collective groups in the railroad company we mentioned above. These groups seem to shed light on a new development of the union movement in the Netherlands.

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

Book part
Publication date: 2 October 2003

Enrique De La Garza Toledo

The results of the elections of July 2, 2000 that defeated the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) for the first time in history may open a new stage in the relations between…

Abstract

The results of the elections of July 2, 2000 that defeated the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) for the first time in history may open a new stage in the relations between trade unions and a state ridden with uncertainties. This is evidenced by the behavior of some of the main trade union leaders in Mexico after July 2: erratic behavior; attempts at alliances that would have been unthinkable in the past; and flirting with the presidency. It is the leadership, the strength of the confederations, which is at stake. The powerful may weaken and those who have been marginalized may enter the fray. Other actors, the workers, however, have remained in the background for years. Attention must be paid to them. For the workers, since the early 1980s, neoliberalism has meant reductions in wages and contract benefits, large personnel cut-backs, the disarticulation of the “old working class,” and the emergence of a “new working class” in the maquila. In other words, labor has been restructured in part through modernizing production.

Details

Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-153-8

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