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


Official URL:

This item is available in the Library Catalogue


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
ID Code:8448
Useful Links:
Deposited On:13 Feb 2012 05:27
Last Modified:30 Jul 2014 03:47

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