Neoliberal globalization and trade unionism: toward radical political unionism?

Upchurch, Martin and Mathers, Andy (2011) Neoliberal globalization and trade unionism: toward radical political unionism? Critical sociology . ISSN 0896-9205


Official URL:

This item is available in the Library Catalogue


This article revisits the question of changing forms of trade unionism within the context of neoliberal globalization. While broadly accepting the argument that globalization might encourage the development of more radical forms of unionism as survival strategies, it argues that such radicalism cannot be understood satisfactorily by the term social movement unionism (SMU). This is due to over-reliance on theories of the new social movements (NSMs), which produce a largely de-classed and de-politicized perspective. The article uses insights gained from theoretical work on protest and labour movement development to bring the state back into the analysis and applies this analysis to oppositional trade union practice in a variety of institutional contexts. It concludes by making a case for understanding contemporary forms of oppositional trade union strategy through the term radical political unionism which takes account of both its social and political determinants as well as the agency role played by political leaderships.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Law > Law and Politics
ID Code:6897
Permissions granted by publisher:Embargoed for one year as requested by publisher.
Useful Links:
Deposited On:17 Jan 2011 11:41
Last Modified:25 Jul 2014 15:31

Repository staff only: item control page

Full text downloads (NB count will be zero if no full text documents are attached to the record)

Downloads per month over the past year