Nora Räthzel

Nora Räthzel
Umeå University | UMU · Department of Sociology

PhD
Starting a project on workers converting their production processes into environmentally sound and socially just ones.

About

96
Publications
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819
Citations
Citations since 2017
27 Research Items
506 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100
Introduction
Nora Räthzel currently works at the Department of Sociology, Umeå University. Nora does research in Environmental Sociology, Feminist Sociology, Environmental Labour Studies. Her projects are: Workers as Agents of a Green and Just Transformation. Cooperatives and Socio-ecological Forms of Production, Transnational Corporations form the Standpoint of workers, Environmental Labour Studies, Genera
Additional affiliations
September 1998 - December 2019
Umeå University
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (96)
Article
Full-text available
We present the life histories of two environmentally engaged unionists in South Africa, who were decisive for formulating the environmental programmes of their respective trade unions. Their experiences of participating in the resistance against apartheid in universities and factories taught them the necessity to connect different struggles and equ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Our aim in this paper is to critically discuss a dominant conceptualisation of the individual that informs much of Psychology where it is being applied to behaviour change strategies. Theories and concepts such as the selfish gene, or the tragedy of the commons, we argue, have underpinned much of this research. The underlying assumption of these pa...
Chapter
Full-text available
I want to focus on those who take part in racist discourses without being actually their main source. The following paper thus looks at images of migrant populations (Turks in Germany) produced by young women, who consider themselves as not being racist. My aim is not to prove that these young women are not what they see themselves as being, but to...
Article
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This article begins with examples of successful environmental union policies and actions in the workplace, paying particular attention to Comisiones Obreras (Spain), TUC (United Kingdom) and NUMSA (South Africa). It argues that some of the ways in which the concept of just transition has been translated into international trade union policies fail...
Article
Full-text available
This paper is based on research with environmentally engaged trade unionists in India. It follows their trajectories into the trade union and explores their environmental engagements. A short presentation of the history of Indian trade unionism, aims to understand its ‘multi-unionism’. Analysing three exemplary life-histories of unionists, their mo...
Chapter
In this chapter the authors analyse different forms of gender and class discrimination in Spanish academic institutions. Androcentrism in terms of the structures of academic institutions, the meritocratic system, the rhythms and contents of work present barriers for women advancing into positions of leadership. The intersectionality of gender and c...
Preprint
Full-text available
ABSTRACT I argue for the necessity to introduce the concept of work (labour) as a mediator between human and non-human lives. I discuss some influential conceptualisations of the society-nature relationship, from which I draw main insights: the necessity to think of nature as social but without reducing it to the social; 'sympoesis' as the co-cons...
Article
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Green Growth is impossible. We must strive for a regenerative economy that enables a good life for all.
Chapter
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Räthzel discusses the transformative work of union environmentalists in one of the largest Spanish trades union confederations. She explores how ‘organic intellectuals’ coming from the resistance movement against the Franco regime where capable to take advantage of a favourable conjuncture of societal and organisational conditions. Connecting Marxi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Environmental labour studies has grown into a research area with multiple studies of working-class environmentalism, predominantly in the Global North. To encourage comparative research and global political alliances this handbook includes environmental struggles of Indigenous populations, subsistence farmers, fisherfolk and commoners. The introduc...
Chapter
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In this research anthology, inequality in Swedish working life in a Sweden marked by increased inequality, is studied. Racialised inequality, racism and discrimination in individual workplaces are focused, but inequalities based on class and gender are also studied. The concept of inequality regime is used by several of the authors to analyse work...
Book
In this comprehensive Handbook, scholars from across the globe explore the relationships between workers and nature in the context of the environmental crises. They provide an invaluable overview of a fast-growing research field that bridges the social and natural sciences. Chapters provide detailed perspectives of environmental labour studies, env...
Article
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Dieser Text erklärt den Zusammenhang zwischen Klimakrise und Covid und zeigt, dass beide Krisen die gleichen Ursachen haben, die Art und Weise, wie das kapitalistische Produktionssystem die Arbeitenden und die Erde zerstört. Er diskutiert Möglichkeiten der Gegenwehr, insbesondere die Notwendigkeit der Kooperation der Arbeitenden weltweit.
Book
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This vital new collection presents new Marxist-Feminist analyses of Capitalism as a gendered, racialized social formation that shapes and is shaped by specific nature-labour relationships. Leaving behind former overtly structuralist thinking, Marxist- Feminist Theories and Struggles Today interweaves strands of ecofeminism and intersectional analys...
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CONTENTS Notes on contributors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Khayaat Fakier, Diana Mulinari, and Nora Räthzel Part I: Conceptualising. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 1 Standpoint...
Conference Paper
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La sociedad del conocimiento presenta retos esenciales fundamentales para la gestión del personal de ciencia, tecnología e innovación. Se exigen altas cualificaciones y competencias digitales, internacionalización y autogestión de las carreras profesionales; y se conjuga con las prácticas de gestión neogerencialista, la temporalidad, la incertidumb...
Article
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Als jemand, die zwischen wissenschaftlichen, kulturellen und politischen Welten wandert, möchte ich die Frage einer »Mosaik-Linken« aus der Sicht derjenigen diskutieren, die von den politisch handelnden Akteuren in ihr zusammengeführt werden sollen, und knüpfe dabei daran an, wie Hans-Jürgen Urban sie beschreibt: »Der Betriebsratsvorsitzende eines...
Article
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We investigate whether and how workers in a transnational oil corporation carry practices, meanings, and identities between the places of work and home, focusing on environmental and health and safety practices, in order to understand the larger question, how can environmentally relevant practices be generalized in society at large? Our theoretical...
Preprint
Full-text available
This text is a hybrid in the sense that it tries to learn from Sociology and Psychology, but also because it argues on two levels: it presents the life history of an activist in the Brazilian Peasant Women's Movement to demonstrate what can be learned from this particular story about the way in which people engage in changing their living condition...
Article
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This study examines the intersection of individual life-histories, organisational histories and societal histories and reveals how religion, in several different expressions, serves to provide a connection between justice for workers and justice for the environment in the work of trade unionists. The trade union movement is generally seen as secula...
Article
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It is no secret that the 'glass ceiling' preventing women advancing to leadership positions exists in academia as well. Spain is no exception. Gender relations are usually investigated independently of other power relations like class and ethnicity. In our sample (80 men and women in different academic institutions across Spain) we found that not o...
Article
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This special issue is a contribution to environmental labour studies, which aims to investigate the practices and theories that integrate labour and nature, by focusing on labour environmentalism. While nature is privately appropriated and exploited by Capital, workers’ organizations tend to construct nature as labour’s other, a place to enjoy or a...
Article
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The article can be downloaded 50 times at: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/uPhbFxTuuziX7u33W2Gv/full This paper aims to advance knowledge about corporate environmentalism by using new concepts and methods. We broaden the concept of the firm as “differentiated composite actor” by including not only managers but workers and unionists as actors. W...
Book
Full-text available
Architecture and the arts have long been on the forefront of socio-spatial struggles, in which equality, access, representation and expression are at stake in our cities, communities and everyday lives. Feminist spatial practices contribute substantially to new forms of activism, expanding dialogues, engaging materialisms, transforming pedagogies,...
Chapter
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While we can find much evidence to suggest that environmental psychology has strengthened itself as a social institution, as Proshansky advocated some 30 years ago, this concluding chapter critically reviews continued shortcomings and strategies to overcome these. In one of the most rapidly expanding fields of environmental psychology, i.e., resear...
Chapter
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Looking back over the last 40-odd years of my life, I have spent two thirds of that time in educational institutions, studying and teaching at universities. It was during the other 16 years outside academia that I was forced to find different forms of transmitting knowledge, as I was invited to ‘coach’ people on issues of racism and gender relation...
Article
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This article compares how visions for integrating environmental issues into the union agenda are articulated from two different positions in the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO). The article is based on an analysis of ‘life history interviews’ and directs attention to the biographical circumstances under which individuals are able to work wit...
Article
ABSTRACT We argue that the majority of civil society conceptualizations employ a narrow concept of the state and a narrow concept of civil society. The life history of a Brazilian woman demonstrates that as individuals travel through state institutions and civil society organizations (CSOs), they carry conflicting worldviews with them which bear on...
Conference Paper
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Thinking of environmental movements in the 21st century, trade unions are not the organisations that come to mind. They are more likely seen as part of the problem creating environmental degradation, not as part of the solution. However, especially since 2006, when the first international trade union assembly on labour and environment took place in...
Conference Paper
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Especially since 2006 trade unions in the global north and the global south as well as international trade union federations and confederations have been developing strategies against climate change. There are many obstacles in the way of trade union strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. One of the most decisive is the policy con...
Chapter
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PART I: THEORIES AND HISTORIES OF LABOUR 1. In Search of Labour in Labour Studies 2. Production Processes in a Globalising World 3. Qualitative Methods: What We Did and How We Did It PART II: ENTERING THE FACTORY GATES 4. Locating Volvo: Four Plants, Four Places, Four Histories 5. Regimes of representation: Trade Unions in Sweden and Mexico PART II...
Chapter
In the previous chapter we searched in some exemplary studies within labour studies for labour, for working men’s and women’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences of working life. In this chapter we outline other theories informing our analysis in relation to production processes under neoliberal globalising conditions. To understand the broader con...
Chapter
When we researched the impact of automation on workers’ qualifications, horizontal cooperation, hierarchies, and work content in the 1970s and 80s we were alerted to the way in which workers spoke about their work, about the loss of old qualifications, but also about gaining new qualifications within an automated system, where they were less immers...
Chapter
This chapter will only discuss workers’ representation in two of our countries of investigation. The reason is that we do not have enough information from South Africa and India to write comprehensively about the regimes of representation there. In South Africa the union had just begun to organise the workers and the only information we have is of...
Chapter
Silvio in Mexico expresses the dual position of the wage-labourer and producer: The buses are good and the work itself is interesting. The problem is that they do not recognize our work well. There is no recognition. There are different wage groups, C, A, AA, AAA, and they give the best salaries to their friends. (Silvio)
Chapter
Another way in which gender relations were articulated, especially in the plants at the semi-peripheries, were discourses constructing not only Volvo as a family but as a family with specific values, which were supposed to become the family values of Volvo workers.
Chapter
‘The material’ is the term with which scholars trained in qualitative methods name the nearly impossible amount of places, voices, memories, events, and crises that they have encountered and gathered during the research process. Metaphors such as journeys are also frequent, providing a time-space dynamic that creates boundaries (fieldwork/ analysis...
Chapter
Contrary to a number of new trends in sociology, which we discuss below, we think that work is central to people’s lives. Not only for the simple reason that we spend most of our lives at the workplace, but also because our own experience tells us how central work is to the way we lead our lives, to the way we think and feel about ourselves and the...
Chapter
Our first point of departure is that TNCs are gendered and that gender as a symbol and as a social relation is an important factor in shaping the relationship within the TNCs’ specific global-localities. Our second point of departure is that gender ideologies and gender divisions of labour are coordinates through which managements can regulate the...
Chapter
We have discussed several ways in which workers feel connected to their work and develop what we defined as producer’s pride: being proud to contribute to a useful product, enjoying teaching others, advancing from working on the line to a position of teacher, enjoying unpredictable variation, being able to exert influence on the production process,...
Chapter
How did Volvo place itself in the periphery of northern Sweden? Sweden is the national home base of Volvo, the ‘core’ in relation to all other production units; it is where Volvo headquarters is located and where around 28% of the work force is employed (although Sweden constituted only 5% of the market in 2012). In Chapter 2 we saw how Volvo grew...
Chapter
Paradoxically, while Volvo constructs itself as a family to which its workers can belong as equals (see Chapter 8) working class families confront fractures due to men’s unemployment. In Mexico the solution pursued is emigration to the US (Singer and Massey, 1998; Tollefsen Altamirano, 2000), while in South Africa survival is sought through a netwo...
Chapter
Full-text available
The globalisation of work division and global Climate Change are closely linked through the process of economically driven globalisation. In principle, trade unions are best equipped to challenge the destructive results of these globalising processes: they organise workers across national divides and within national borders, being simultaneously lo...
Conference Paper
Global environmental degradation and the global division of labour constitute a "dual exposure" to the effects of globalisation. The focus of our analysis is on how these processes intersect with industrial relations and the formulation of trade union environmental strategies. The paper presents findings based on trade union policy and discussion...
Article
Full-text available
David Uzzell & Nora Räthzel 1. The globalising division of work Global environmental degradation and the global division of labour are consequences of the overarching process of economically driven globalisation, one aspect of what Leichenko and O’Brien refer to as ‘double exposure’ (Leichenko and O’Brien, 2008: 28). The focus of our analysis is...
Chapter
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In the past, environmental movements and labour movements have seen each other as opponents. Where labour movements have taken an interest in nature it has been in the early movements as a space of recreation, later as a necessary condition for a healthy life. In both cases nature has been constructed as “the Other” of labour. The same can be said...
Book
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Combating climate change will increasingly impact on production industries and the workers they employ as production changes and consumption is targeted. Yet research has largely ignored labour and its responses. This book brings together sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, historians, economists, and representatives from internation...
Article
Full-text available
Trade unions are actively engaging with the climate change agenda and formulating climate change policies. Although governments are placing considerable effort on changing consumer behaviour, arguably the most significant impacts on climate change will be through changes in production. Even changes in consumption will have consequences for producti...
Article
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This article aims to contribute to the rich literature on neoliberalization and trade unions in Mexico by providing an examination of the contradictory relationships between capital, trade unions and the workers they represent, in a Swedish-based transnational corporation. The article investigates how the broader international relationships of depe...
Article
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The article discusses the ways in which international trade unions are conceptualising the relationship between jobs and the environment. On the basis of interviews with union representatives, four such ways are discerned: »technological fi x«, »transformation of social identities«, »rearticulation of immediate interests« and »engagement for genera...
Article
The article discusses the ways in which international trade unions are conceptualising the relationship between jobs and the environment. On the basis of interviews with union representatives, four such ways are discerned: «technological fix», «transformation of social identities», «rearticulation of immediate interests»and «engagement for general...
Chapter
Ob »Clash of Civilizations«, Bürgerkriege oder deutsche Feminismus-Debatten - dass Konflikte eine kulturelle Dimension haben, scheint unumstritten. Doch wie sind die Zusammenhänge genau? Dieses Buch untersucht den Einfluss kultureller Praktiken auf konkrete Konfliktfälle und geht ihren persönlichen, regionalen und internationalen Verschränkungen na...
Article
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Lessons can be learned from the actions of the workers and shop stewards at Lucas Aerospace in the 1970s, who fought redundancies by developing a plan for alternative production to turn swords into ploughshares - to transform Lucas Aerospace from a company producing aeronautical and military systems to a company producing socially-useful products....
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents some ways in which young people of a migrant background in Sweden handle their marginalisation at a time of transition from school to higher education. The stories of two young men are discussed, who develop opposing strategies to cope with the double bind created by a society that promotes meritocracy but acts on the basis of r...
Article
Full-text available
Schwarze Feministinnen in Britannien und den USA führten den Begriff Rassismus in die feministische Debatte ein (vgl. Davis 1983, hooks 1981, Carby 1982). Weiße Feministinnen verhielten sich rassistisch, so argumentierten sie, insofern sie die Erfahrungen und Lebensbedingungen schwarzer Frauen und Frauen aus der „Dritten Welt“ entweder ignorierten...
Chapter
Full-text available
When we researched the impact of automation on worker’s qualification, co-operation, hierarchies, and work content in the 1970s and 1980s, we were alerted to the way in which workers talked about their work, about the loss of old qualifications, but also about gaining new qualifications within an automated system, where they were less immersed in t...
Article
Full-text available
Although it is recognised that the individual and the external world are linked in complex and mutual ways and can only be treated together as one phenomenon there is little evidence that transactionalist approaches, despite potentially providing a truly distinctive approach for environmental psychology, have been fully understood or operationalise...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss a cross-national pilot study in Sweden and the UK examining young people's environmental concerns and their perceptions of the causes and solutions. The study demonstrates that evaluations of the causes of environmental degradation are partly contingent upon the manner in which questions are framed leading to quite different interpretati...
Article
Full-text available
This paper puts forward an alternative view on sustainable development, arguing that the separation between the economy, the environment and the social in the Brundtland model obscures the societal character of the economy, the economic bases of the social, and the fact that the environment is a societal product. We differentiate between strong and...
Article
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We take our own life stories as points of departure to look at some of the ways in which women were politicized in Argentina and West Germany (our respective countries of origin), focusing on similarities as well as differences in our politicization processes. We aim at putting present discussions about global political movements into a historical...
Article
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The labor market in Sweden today does not offer a rosy picture for young people. Among them are youth with a migrant background that have the lowest chance of becoming employed. In principle migrant background should work in favor of young people. After all, even if they are born in the country their parents migrated to, they have knowledge of at l...
Chapter
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In order to understand the nature of present contradictions within the German national identity it is necessary to outline certain historical specificities that have proved crucial to its development.
Chapter
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Schwarze Feministinnen in Britannien und den USA führten den Begriff Rassismus in die feministische Debatte ein (vgl. Davis 1983, hooks 1981, Carby 1982). Weiße Feministinnen verhielten sich rassistisch, so argumentierten sie, insofern sie die Erfahrungen und Lebensbedingungen schwarzer Frauen und Frauen aus der „Dritten Welt“ entweder ignorierten...
Article
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Nora Räthzel looks at the ways in which a group of marginalised young people seek to make sense of their world.
Article
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Its strength (of the book of Jules Verne, Snr) comes precisely from knowing never to invent, but paying acute, almost hypnotic, attention to the real, so as to get it to yield up its secret and reveal its possibilities.(Writings on the City)
Chapter
The first section of this chapter explains what is meant by the term ‘workers of migrant origin’. The second section gives an overview of the situation of migrant workers in the labour market and the third describes some of the forms of discrimination that workers of migrant origin face in German enterprises. The last section summarises results fro...
Chapter
Was ist das, eine Nation? fragte Renan 1882. Seitdem hat es eine nicht mehr zu überblickende Zahl von Antworten auf diese Frage gegeben. Die Vielfalt der Definitionen zeigt u.a. ein Blick in Enzyklopädien aus verschiedenen Ländern und Zeiträumen. Die folgende Darstellung hat illustrierenden Charakter, da ich hier nicht den historischen und gesellsc...
Chapter
Ich spreche im folgenden von „Konstruktionen der Nation“ und von „Bildern des Anderen“, (wobei ich diejenigen meine, die innerhalb der Grenzen der Nation leben) weil ich die Begriffe Nationalismus und Rassismus einengen möchte auf Fälle, in denen die Stärkung der Nation erste Priorität hat, bzw. in denen die Anderen als Gruppe mit Eigenschaften aus...
Chapter
Die prekäre Stabilität des Konsenses über die deutsche Nation und nationale Zugehörigkeit geriet zum ersten Mal öffentlich in die Krise, als 1988 und 1989 größere Gruppen von Aussiedlerinnen in die Bundesrepublik einwanderten und ihr Recht auf die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit geltend machten.
Chapter
Der folgende Abschnitt setzt sich mit Definitionen und Verwendungsweisen der Begriffe Kultur und Ideologie in den Cultural Studies und im Projekt Ideologietheorie (im folgenden PIT) auseinander. Beschränkung ist sicher eine Tugend, aber angesichts der vielfältigen Verwendungsweisen dieser beiden Begriffe wird man sich fragen, warum ausgerechnet die...
Chapter
Aus der Ideologietheorie des PIT gewann ich die These, Ideologie sei Vergesellschaftung von oben, der Staat gewinne seine ideologische Macht durch die antagonistische Reklamation des Gemeinwesens. Betrachtet man die Nation in dieser Perspektive, dann ergibt sich daraus eine Bestimmung, die nicht nach ihrem Inhalt und ihrer Funktion fragt, sondern n...
Article
Full-text available
I analyse the changing conceptions of German national identity since the idea was first articulated after the French Revolution. I distinguish between universalist concepts of national belonging and particularist ones, specifying at the same time their respective class articulations. Within this context, I address both historical and contemporary p...
Chapter
Im ersten Teil werden die Einwanderungsprozesse in das Vereinigte Königreich1 seit 1945 dargestellt. Der zweite Teil beschäftigt sich mit den verschiedenen Gesetzen zur Kontrolle und Beschränkung der Einwanderung. Im dritten Teil wird die Lebenssituation schwarzer Einwanderinnen2 kurz beschrieben und der vierte Teil ist der Antidiskriminierungsgese...
Article
La République fédérale d'Allemagne s'enorgueillit de posséder le droit d'asile le plus libéral du monde. Pour Nora Räthzel, la vérité n'est pas aussi rose. Un historique de la remise en cause de ce droit et des arguments avancés par ses détracteurs.

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Projects (3)
Archived project
“In America rationalisation has determined the need to elaborate a new type of man suited to the new type of work and productive process”, wrote Antonio Gramsci 1927. The notion of the “new type of man” implied that working processes engage the entire personality. Does the new type of production dominant today, does the globalised, informational economy require a new type of men and women? It has been argued that late modernism and/or postmodernism augments individualisation, that the “mode of experiencing” has changed, engendering a culture of “virtual reality”. Flexibility, life long learning, flattening hierarchies, an increase of social competence have been diagnosed as the results of new working processes and new work organisation, seen to favour women’s inclusion into the labour process. The aim of this project is to investigate the changing ways of life applying a biographical perspective from below. We want to look at the ways in which workers experience and make sense of their lives in the context of a globalised working place. Do they experience any changes in their lives and how do they describe and define them? How do they experience the workplace, the relationship between working life and domestic life, gender and ethnic relations? How do they experience spatial relations, their local neighbourhoods in relation to other places, which they know through direct experience or through forms of representation? How do they intervene into their living conditions – through traditional political parties, trade unions, new social movements, neighbourhood organisations, or through individualised forms of adaptation or resistance?
Project
http://genera-uoc.com/en/