At the core of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's thesis that a new global form of sovereignty has replaced a previous imperialist geography is their claim that the capitalist mode of production has undergone a shift from a modern era in which “industrial labor“ was hegemonic to a postmodern era in which “immaterial labor“ has become hegemonic. In this article, I argue that capitalism in Europe (let alone other areas of the world) does not conform to this model. I draw on the history of Italian manufacturing and on my ethnographic research on the silk industry of northern Italy to question the analytic usefulness of their distinction between “industrial“ and “immaterial“ labor and to show that the latter has always been crucial to industrial production. I conclude that Hardt and Negri's attempt to expand the definition of productive labor to include the “multitude“ unwittingly parallels an emerging discourse that serves to legitimate transnational hierarchies of labor.
On false binaries in Hardt and Negri's trilogy
A Cross-National Panel Analysis of Unionization and Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Camila Huerta Alvarez, Julius Alexander McGee and Richard York
In this article, we assess whether unionization of national workforces influences growth in national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita. Political-economic theories in environmental sociology propose that labor unions have the potential to affect environmental conditions. Yet, few studies have quantitatively assessed the influence of unionization on environmental outcomes using cross-national data. We estimate multilevel regression models using data on OECD member nations from 1970 to 2014. Results from our analysis indicate that unionization, measured as the percentage of workers who are union members, is negatively associated with CO2 emissions per capita, even when controlling for labor conditions. This finding suggests that unionization may promote environmental protection at the national level.
Georg Picot and Arianna Tassinari
Reform of the labor market has long been an important and controversial policy area in Italy, and it was one of Matteo Renzi's core concerns when he took up the leadership of the Democratic Party. This chapter recounts the main changes in Italian labor market policy since the 1990s before discussing the Jobs Act, which started as a highly publicized reform project concentrating on changes to public employment services and unemployment benefits, but which the left strongly challenged when dismissal protection was later weakened.
Mobile Cultures between the Andes and the Amazon around 1900
Jaime Moreno Tejada
This article examines two distinct yet overlapping cultures of mobility in turn-of-the-century Ecuador. On the one hand, there was a modernizing culture that sought to implement utopian modes of transportation between the Andes and the Amazon. On the other hand, there were indigenous porters and pilots, who had nonhegemonic ideas about mobility and labor. This article argues that (1) indigenous labor was based on the performance of colonial habits, which I refer to as coloniality; (2) within this framework of spatial practice, native bodily rhythms could be interpreted as successful tactics of everyday resistance; and (3) the conflict between Indians and non-Indians reveals a universal, modern tension between machine and humanlike mobilities.
The post–Great Recession, zombielike resurrection of neoliberalism has taken much of Europe and the United States on a hard-right detour into a twilight zone of populist nationalism, where far-right critiques of the status quo resonate more deeply with the white working class than leftist analyses. As rising fears of cultural eclipse, economic decline, and elite resentment drive the appeal of right-wing nationalists in the United States, Europe, India, and beyond, what role should intellectuals, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political possibility so that progressive, transformative collective action becomes imaginable?
Marc Roscoe Loustau
Why do post-pilgrimage slideshows help Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics perform domestic devotional labor? There is growing interest in breaking open pilgrimage research, and scholars have recently begun studying rituals of return—including pilgrims’ practice of using photographs to narrate their journeys after returning home. I contribute to this effort by sketching out the general characteristics of Transylvanian Hungarian Catholics’ post-pilgrimage slideshows about the Medjugorje shrine. I then give a detailed description of an exemplary case: a married couple’s presentation for their children gathered around the family computer. Although we might expect pilgrims to routinize stories and images from a chaotic journey, many slideshows were quite disorganized and impressionistic. This disorganization helped travelers tailor their stories to the diverse spiritual interests of guests in a changing Transylvanian Hungarian Catholic religious landscape. Family members’ conversations also dramatized how neoliberalism in Romania has emerged alongside new global pilgrimage sites like Medjugorje. Medjugorje appeals to pilgrims because it is a privileged site for advertising national wares on the global market.
A Model Reconsidered
The German model of labor relations is once again attracting significant attention, even if assessments of its health and economic consequences diverge. This review article clarifies debates about German labor relations and illuminates their significance for theorizing the political economy of wealthy democracies. It demonstrates how four different narratives about German practices from the late twentieth century continue to shape contemporary disagreements. While these older interpretations of the German model have been updated, their original assumptions about particular structural effects remain at the heart of current disputes, sometimes hiding as much as they reveal. This article argues that it is time to move beyond inherited abstractions and focus more on the contemporary agency of labor relations actors.
Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space
The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. Th is article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning aft er their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.
An Interpretation of Changing Realities and Changing Histories
This article surveys changes and arguments in the historiography and politics of Israel especially in the post-1977 period, ranging from the New Historians through recent discussions of Mamlakhtiyut (statism), an ideological term for the policies pursued in the early years of statehood by David Ben-Gurion. The article is especially concerned with social democratic or socialist questions, as Mamlakhtiyut subordinated institutions of the Labor movement to those of the state. The article suggests that there were alternatives to Mamlakhtiyut in the 1950s that ought to be reconsidered today. This is especially so given the contemporary political dominance of Labor's traditional foes and new realities faced by states in a “globalizing” world. The article suggests that aspects of recent historiography can be seen as descending from the mental universe of Rafi, the breakaway party Ben-Gurion formed in 1965 after splitting from Mapai. Parallels to other political developments and alternative historiography are suggested. This article revises and expands the “Postface” (Afterword) for the new second French edition (2014) of the author's Zion and State (originally published in 1987), which presented a critique of Mamlakhtiyut.
Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand
Steve Kwok-Leung Chan
English abstract: Thailand is a popular destination for irregular labor migration from Myanmar. Among some three million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, more than half are undocumented. Undocumented migrant workers rely on brokers to smuggle them into Thailand. Some undocumented migrant workers are lured, tricked, and forced to work but they are not rewarded with a reasonable wage. A conceptual framework of the shadow sector of labor migration is formulated in this study, which attempts to explain why ethnic minorities in Myanmar are socially categorized by the level of their deprived citizenship. Those low in the hierarchy of categorization are likely to fall into the shadow sector of the labor migration process. Ethnic minorities from areas of insurgency are exposed to a high risk of human trafficking.
Spanish abstract: Tailandia es un destino popular para la migración laboral irregular de Myanmar. Entre unos tres millones de trabajadores migrantes birmanos en Tailandia, más de la mitad son indocumentados. Los trabajadores migrantes indocumentados confían en intermediarios para pasar de contrabando a través de la frontera a Tailandia. En este estudio se formula un marco conceptual del sector paralelo de la migración laboral que trata de explicar por qué las minorías étnicas en Myanmar se clasifican socialmente por el nivel de su ciudadanía privada. Aquellos que se encuentran en la jerarquía de categorización baja probablemente caigan en el sector oscuro del proceso de migración laboral. Las minorías étnicas de las áreas de la insurgencia están expuestas a un alto riesgo de trata de personas.
French abstract: La migration irrégulière de main-d’oeuvre et la traite d’êtres humains sont des sujets récurrents des études migratoires, mais le sujet le plus traité jusqu’à présent concerne le mouvement Sud Nord. La Thaïlande, en tant qu’économie en développement de l’Asie du Sud-Est, est une destination prisée pour la migration de main-d’oeuvre irrégulière myanmaraise. Parmi les quelques trois millions de travailleurs migrants birmans en Thaïlande, plus de la moitié sont sans papiers. Les travailleurs migrants sans papiers comptent sur les intermédiaires pour passer clandestinement la frontière de la Thaïlande afin d’y rechercher un emploi. Certains travailleurs migrants sans papiers sont attirés, trompés et forcés à travailler sans la récompense d’un salaire raisonnable. Un cadre conceptuel du secteur parallèle de la migration de main-d’oeuvre est formulé dans cette étude qui tente d’expliquer pourquoi les minorités ethniques du Myanmar sont classées socialement par leur niveau de privation de citoyenneté. Ceux qui sont au bas de la hiérarchie de la catégorisation risquent de tomber dans le marché parallèle du processus de migration de main-d’oeuvre. Les minorités ethniques des zones de l’insurrection sont exposées à un risque élevé de traite d’êtres humains.