Transformations in Labor Politics in the Global South

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
RC44 Labor Movements (host committee)

Language: English

The initial decades of the 21st century have seen the comparative evolution of labor politics in the Global South break out of the conventional analytical frames developed in the final decades of the 20th century. 
In the 1980’s Brazil, Korea and South Africa were considered dynamic new models for labor’s political role in the South. Today, however, the political role of South Africa’s labor movement is an example of chaotic conflict, critics of the Brazilian labor movement see it in grave danger of slipping into a corrupt corporatist complacency, and the Korean labor movement seems to be checkmated by a combination of factionalism and repression. 
At the same time, insurgency is breaking out in labor movements in repressive but economically dynamic regimes like China and Vietnam. In India, formal sector trade unions continued to be fragmented and mired in political factionalism and attention has shifted to organization in the informal sector.  
It is clearly time for re-thinking old comparative frameworks for dealing with labor politics in the Global South. What do the different political trajectories of labor movements at the national level suggests for divergence (or convergence) of national trajectories in terms of democratization or social protection? What do they suggest in terms of the overall global prospects of labor? Equally important, what kinds of revisions do they require of traditional conceptual categories like “corporatism” or “social movement unionism” and what new conceptual frames do they suggest?
Session Organizer:
Eli FRIEDMAN, Cornell University, USA
Irene PANG, Brown University, USA
National Political Trajectories and the Changing Power of Labor in the Global South
Peter EVANS, University of California, Berkeley, Dept of Sociology, USA
Global Union Networks: The Brazilian Recent Experience
Leonardo MELLO E SILVA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Neither Reform Nor Regime Change: Labor Politics in China and India's Automobile Industry
Manjusha NAIR, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Eli FRIEDMAN, Cornell University, USA
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