Beyond ‘Political Economism’: new identities for unions in Western Europe?

Taylor, Graham and Mathers, Andrew and Upchurch, Martin (2012) Beyond ‘Political Economism’: new identities for unions in Western Europe? Capital & Class, 36 (1). pp. 17-24. ISSN 0309-8168

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0309816811428664

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Abstract

This article engages critically with Richard Hyman’s work on union identity and European integration. It includes a sympathetic review of Hyman’s contribution to the debate on these topics over the past two decades, alongside a critique of Hyman’s approach that highlights certain weaknesses and contradictions resulting from his uncritical use of a range of categories and concepts taken from regulation theory. The authors question Hyman’s argument that developments in European unionism can be conceptualised adequately through an analysis of the development and crisis of ‘political economism’: a dominant union identity that Hyman aligns with the development and crisis of Fordism. An alternative model for understanding the reorientation of European unions is presented based on a critical and dialectical conceptualisation of the relationship between unions and capitalist development. This is used to construct a model of contemporary union reorientation along the dimensions of ‘accommodation’ and ‘opposition’ to neoliberalism and to ‘national’ and ‘international’ modes of organisation and mobilisation.

Item Type:Article
Keywords (uncontrolled):Union identity; regulation theory; social democracy; neolberalism; European integration
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations
Middlesex University Schools and Centres > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
ID Code:8448
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Deposited On:13 Feb 2012 05:27
Last Modified:04 Dec 2014 13:19

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