These nine essays by a prominent scholar in American labor history self-consciously evoke the tensions between the worker as historical subject and the historian as outside observer. Encompassing studies of labor culture, strategy, and movement building from the late nineteenth century to the present, In Search of the Working Class also connects the trials of the early labor economists to the conceptual challenges facing today's academic practitioners.
"Fink places American labor history in the broader context of American political historiography better than any other historian I can think of." -- James R. Barrett, author of Work and Community in the Jungle: Chicago's Packinghouse Workers, 1894-1922
Opinions of specialized labor courts differ, but labor justice undoubtedly represented a decisive moment in worker 's history. When and how did these courts take shape? Why did their originators consider them necessary? Leon Fink and Juan Manuel Palacio present essays that address these essential questions. Ranging from Canada and the United States to Chile and Argentina, the authors search for common factors in the appearance of labor courts while recognizing the specific character of the creative process in each nation. Their transnational and comparative approach advances a global perspective on the various mechanisms for regulating industrial relations and resolving labor conflicts. The result is the first country-by-country study of its kind, one that addresses a defining shift in law in the first half of the twentieth century. Contributors: Rossana Barragán Romano, Angela de Castro Gomes, David Díaz-Arias, Leon Fink, Frank Luce, Diego Ortúzar, Germán Palacio, Juan Manuel Palacio, William Suarez-Potts, Fernando Teixeira da Silva, Victor Uribe-Urán, Angela Vergara, and Ronny J. Viales-Hurtado.
Marcha is a multidisciplinary survey of the individuals, organizations, and institutions that have given shape and power to the contemporary immigrant rights movement in Chicago. A city with longstanding historic ties to immigrant activism, Chicago has been the scene of a precedent-setting immigrant rights mobilization in 2006 and subsequent mobilizations in 2007 and 2008.
Positing Chicago as a microcosm of the immigrant rights movement on national level, these essays plumb an extraordinarily rich set of data regarding recent immigrant rights activities, defining the cause as not just a local quest for citizenship rights, but a panethnic, transnational movement. The result is a timely volume likely to provoke debate and advance the national conversation about immigration in innovative ways.
The inaugural issue of Labor offers an example of what readers can expect to find on a regular basis—full coverage of new trends in labor history. It features an extensive interview with retired Yale University professor David Montgomery, the acclaimed “dean” of the new labor history since the 1970s. One article plumbs management and labor archives as well as oral histories to reconstruct the patterns of abuse encountered by women on automobile shop floors from 1930 to 1970. Drawing on fieldwork in a southern California domestic service placement agency, a contributor documents the commodification of gender and ethnic stereotypes in the international maid trade. Another essay begins a two-part series on the history of U.S. labor and international solidarity; still another explores the recent desecration of the memorial to victims of the Ludlow Massacre.
Contributors. James R. Barrett, Joshua Brown, Leon Fink, Dana Frank, John French, James Green, Julie Greene, Gregory Kealey, Kristen Hill Maher, Steve Meyer
Seeking to historicize the 2007-2009 Great Recession, this volume of essays situates the current economic crisis and its impact on workers in the context of previous abrupt shifts in the modern-day capitalist marketplace. Contributors use examples from industrialized North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia to demonstrate how workers and states have responded to those shifts and to their disempowering effects on labor.
Since the Industrial Revolution, contributors argue, factors such as race, sex, and state intervention have mediated both the effect of economic depressions on workers' lives and workers' responses to those depressions. Contributors also posit a varying dynamic between political upheaval and economic crises, and between workers and the welfare state.
The volume ends with an examination of today's "Great Recession": its historical distinctiveness, its connection to neoliberalism, and its attendant expressions of worker status and agency around the world. A sobering conclusion lays out a likely future for workers--one not far removed from the instability and privation of the nineteenth century.
The essays in this volume offer up no easy solutions to the challenges facing today's workers. Nevertheless, they make clear that cogent historical thinking is crucial to understanding those challenges, and they push us toward a rethinking of the relationship between capital and labor, the waged and unwaged, and the employed and jobless.
Contributors are Sven Beckert, Sean Cadigan, Leon Fink, Alvin Finkel, Wendy Goldman, Gaetan Heroux, Joseph A. McCartin, David Montgomery, Edward Montgomery, Scott Reynolds Nelson, Melanie Nolan, Bryan D. Palmer, Joan Sangster, Judith Stein, Hilary Wainright, and Lu Zhang.
At the time of its original publication, Working-Class America represented the new labor history par excellence. A roster of noteworthy scholars in the field contribute original essays written during a pivotal time in the nation's history and within the discipline. Moving beyond historical-sociological analyses, the authors take readers inside the lives of the real men and women behind the statistics. The result is a classic collection focused on the human dimensions of the field, one valuable not only as a resource for historiography but as a snapshot of workers and their concerns in the 1980s.
Focusing on the operation and influence of the Knights of Labor—the leading labor organization of the nineteenth century—Workingmen's Democracy explores the dreams, achievements, and failures of a movement that sought to renew the democratic potential of American institutions.
Runner-up in both the John H. Dunning Prize and Albert J. Beveridge Award competitions