ISA session being organized — “Non-union class struggles from below” — Session of the ISA World Congress of Sociology, July 2018, Toronto. Organized by Marcel Paret (University of Utah and University of Johannesburg)
While many observers lament the declining significance and political power of organized labor, unions were never the only protagonists of resistance from below. Historical accounts include numerous examples of struggles by working classes and other economically marginalized groups. Similar examples of non-union resistance from below are rampant in the contemporary period of widespread economic insecurity. Groups that scholars consider to be especially “precarious” or even “surplus” to global capitalism – the unemployed, part-time and temporary workers, those eking out a living through “informal” activities, etc. – are prominent within these struggles. These struggles from below often connect economic demands to issues of citizenship, nationalism, and community.
This session will focus on class struggles from below, broadly defined but excluding struggles by capitalists and elites, that are taking place outside of formal union organizations. While maintaining emphasis on class-related demands and issues such as wages, land, and basic livelihood, relevant struggles may include significant or even dominant non-class dimensions (e.g. citizenship). Informal social networks, community-based organizations, political parties, or other non-union entities are also relevant. The goal is to highlight and contrast non-union class struggles in different parts of the globe, with attention to the influence of varying local, national, and regional contexts.
Relevant themes may include, but are not limited to:
- protests and riots by the urban poor;
- mobilization by, for, and against migrants;
- struggles by indigenous groups;
- class dimensions of nationalist movements;
- Occupy-type movements against austerity and economic inequality;
- middle class movements;
- peasant movements and/or struggles against land dispossession;
- organization by self-employed workers or independent contractors;
- political party mobilization;
- workplace resistance by non-unionized workers;
- worker centers and other community-based worker organizations.
To submit a paper to this session, please go to the following link: https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/webprogrampreliminary/Session10931.html. Click the “Submit an Abstract to this Session” button to upload your submission. You will need to create an account with ISA if you do not have one already.
This session will be organized as a roundtable, and is listed in the program under “RC44 Roundtable”. Please direct any questions to Marcel Paret at email@example.com.