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Labor History Bibliography 2005

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The comparative method is a valuable tool for understanding labour history in Australia and the UK. This paper defines comparative labour history and examines the various benefits and problems of comparative research. The article then looks at the use of comparative labour history in Australia and UK. It argues that comparative analysis plays a marginal role in both labour historiographies due to a strong empiricist tradition. This tradition also mitigates against a sophisticated discussion of both concepts and comparative method. Where comparative method is used, there is a bias towards 'Anglo-Saxon' countries partially due to limited non-English language skills. Among UK historians who focus on the UK, academic links with many parts of the former British Empire, including the USA, are stronger than they are with Europe. When Australian labour historians have adopted a comparative approach, it focuses on 'settler societies' such as Canada and the USA, where there is a common interest in general questions such as the 'frontier' and more specific issues such as scientific management and the Industrial Workers of the World. The article concludes by arguing that comparative labour history has to take into account the streams of cultural transfer between nationally constituted labour movements to produce better results.
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In order to understand the meaning of the notions of cognitive labour and cognitariat, it is necessary to analyse not only the transformations that have taken place in the work process but also what is happening in the psychic and desiring dimension of post-industrial society. What is at stake in the social definition of cognitive labour is the body, sexuality, perishable physicality and the unconscious. Cognitariat is the social corporeality of cognitive labour. But the social existence of cognitive workers cannot be reduced to intelligence: in their existential concreteness, the cognitarians are also body, in other words nerves that stiffen in the constant strain of attention, eyes that get tired staring at a screen. Collective intelligence neither reduces nor resolves the social existence of the bodies that produce this intelligence, the concrete bodies of the male and female cognitarians.
Article
This article examines newspaper coverage of the Triangle fire of 1911, focusing on the issue of labor and women's position in the workplace during the Progressive Era. The treatment of the fire by the four newspapers studied was unique. It focused attention on the working conditions faced by the workers rather than the violence that often resulted from their demands for better conditions. This decried the popular image of women as the “angel of the hearth,” protected and cosseted by the men in their families, and instead showed them as exploited workers and victims. Publicity about the fire and the ensuing investigations eventually led to the formation of the New York Factory Investigation Commission and sweeping factory safety code regulations.
Article
In this article folklorist Edward D. Ives traces the life and work of journeyman-poet John Mitchell, who moved from job to job in northern Maine at the beginning of the twentieth century. Ives uses oral history and a few extant poems to give us a glimpse at the life of the common laborer on the raw northern Maine frontier. Mitchell was a wanderer, but he knew the world of the ordinary working man from the inside out, and his poems express the hopes, fears, humor and irony of daily life as he saw it. “Sandy” Ives is professor emeritus from the University of Maine, where he taught folklore and oral history and served as director of the Maine Folklife Center. Among his many published works on rural Maine life are Fleetwood Pride, 1864-1960: The Autobiography of a Maine Woodsman (1968); Joe Scott, The Woodsman-Song- Maker (1978), and George Magoon and The Down East Game War: History, Folklore, and the Law(1988).
Book
Considerable attention has been paid to far-right parties and their leaders, Oswald Mosley, A. K. Chesterton, John Tyndall and Nick Griffin. But what about the forces that have been organised in opposition to fascism in Britain? British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State brings together the leading historians in the field to trace the history of labour movement responses to the far-right from the 1920s to the present. It examines the rise and fall of different fascist groups in terms of wider social processes, above all the hostility of the labour movement, left-wing parties, the women’s movement and the trade unions. © Nigel Copsey and David Renton 2005, David Renton 2005, Nigel Copsey 2005and Palgrave Macmillan 2005.
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This book is the first ever collection of scholarly essays on the history of the Irish working class. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the involvement of Irish workers in political life and movements between 1830 and 1945. Fourteen leading Irish and international historians and political scientists trace the politicization of Irish workers during a period of considerable social and political turmoil. The contributions include both surveys covering the entire period and case studies that provide new perspectives on crucial historical movements and moments. This volume is a milestone in Irish labour and political historiography and an important contribution to the international literature on politics and the working class. © Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil 2005, Fintan Lane 2005 and Donal Ó Drisceoil 2005.
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This dissertation explores the experiences of fire fighters, police officers, and sanitation workers in New York City and Philadelphia, and the municipal officials who sought to manage them, from the dawn of the civil service system in the 1880s to the start of the era of collective bargaining in the 1940s. In the nineteenth century, the nation's cities dramatically expanded their services to meet the needs of their populations and, in the process, became employers on a massive scale. Yet scholars have given little attention to city governments as workplaces. Making use of official government documents, newspaper and magazine articles, and the records of unions and civic organizations, this dissertation examines the challenges that New York City and Philadelphia faced as employers, as well as the challenges that their employees faced working for public entities. In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, as reformers gradually made progress against the political machines in their struggle to control the state, they revolutionized the municipal workplace. By introducing civil service rules that rationalized hiring, promotional, and disciplinary practices, creating on the job training programs, and providing pensions to employees to promote careerism, they demonstrated a remarkable degree of sophistication as managers. The municipal employees in New York City and Philadelphia were not idle bystanders in this process, however. As early as the 1890s, they organized themselves into benevolent associations and unions in order to improve their working conditions. As employees of public entities, though, they faced a very different environment from private sector unions at the time, having to forswear strikes, picketing, and collective bargaining. Instead of using their power as workers, they had to make use of their rights as citizens, focusing their energies on developing into skilled lobbyists at the state and local level. One of the most significant accomplishments of this dissertation, therefore, is to elucidate that which is unique about the experiences of workers and their unions in the public sector.
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Although historians have revisited the Risorgimento in recent years, adding significantly more sophistication to their analyses, scholars continue to have little sense of how the Italian lower classes experienced national unification. At the same time, traditional labour history, as one field that might correct this oversight, seldom looks back before unification. This study suggests the two fields would both benefit by examining labour during the decades of the Risorgimento. Despite widespread affection for Garibaldi, the popular hero of the Risorgimento, labourers were seldom engaged in the politics of nation-making. However, the development of strikes and associations in the north-central city of Bologna during the last years of the Risorgimento suggests that labourers were adapting to and making use of changes in the political atmosphere in pressing their own demands.
Book
Although the history of the book is a booming area of research, the journeymen who printed 16th-century books have remained shadowy figures because they were not thought to have left any significant traces in the archives. However, Griffin's research on unpublished trial-records and a mass of associated inquisitional correspondence reveals a clandestine network of Protestant-minded immigrant journeymen - printers who were arrested by the Holy Office in Spain and Portugal in the 1560s and 1570s at a time of international crisis. A startlingly clear portrait of these humble men (and occasionally women) emerges allowing the reconstruction of what Namier deemed one of history's greatest challenges: 'the biographies of ordinary men'. We learn of their geographical and social origins, educational and professional training, travels, careers, standard of living, violent behaviour, and even their attitudes, beliefs, and ambitions. In the course of this study, other subjects are addressed: popular culture and religion; heresy; the history of skilled labour; the history of the book and of reading; the Inquisition; foreign and itinerant workers and the xenophobia they encountered; popular patterns of sociability; and the 'double lives' of lower-class Protestants living within a uniquely vigilant Catholic society. This study is relevant not only to the Iberian Peninsula or to the printing industry. It fills a gap in our knowledge of artisan history in the 16th-century throughout Europe. This study of the lives of immigrant workers in a society intolerant of foreigners and of religious diversity has much to say to readers in the early 21st century.
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The recent recovery continued a trend that started in the mid-1970s of a growing divergence between capital and labor incomes. This trend appears to be largely due to a shift in the balance of corporate governance. A growing concentration of financial assets among institutional investors was juxtaposed by a declining unionization rate. Consequently, institutional investors had the incentives and increasingly the ability to allocate a growing share of corporate resources towards capital, particularly in the form of share repurchases and dividend payouts instead.
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The Master of Seventh Avenue is the definitive biography of David Dubinsky (1892-1982), one of the most controversial and influential labor leaders in 20th-century America. A "character" in the truest sense of the word, Dubinsky was both revered and reviled, but never dull, conformist, or bound by convention. A Jewish labor radical, Dubinsky fled czarist Poland in 1910 and began his career as a garment worker and union agitator in New York City. He quickly rose through the ranks of the International Ladies' Garment Workers'Union (ILGWU) and became its president in 1932. Dubinsky led the ILGWU for thirty-four years, where he championed "social unionism," which offered workers benefits ranging from health care to housing. Moving beyond the realm of the ILGWU, Dubinsky also played a leading role in the American Federation of Labor (AFL), particularly during World War II. A staunch anti-communist, Dubinsky worked tirelessly to rid the American labor movement of communists and fellow-travelers. Robert D. Parmet also chronicles Dubinsky's influential role in local, national, and international politics. An extraordinary personality whose life and times present a fascinating lens into the American labor movement, Dubinsky leaps off the pages of this meticulously researched and vividly detailed biography.
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Dorset was notorious in the mid-nineteenth century for its low agricultural wages and the poverty of its labourers. This paper traces the first years of union activity in the county, 1872-4. It is based largely on reports carried by a short-lived but sympathetic newspaper which are extensively quoted to give a flavour of the source and the extreme hostility the Union provoked. Particular attention is paid to Milborne St Andrew where in 1872 the farmers appear to have accepted at least some union demands for higher wages but dismissed pro-union labourers after the harvest of that year. A new strike in the spring of 1874 was countered by a lockout and evictions. The background to the much-reproduced photographs of the evictions at Milborne St Andrews is explained.
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This book examines the representation of English working-class children - the youthful inhabitants of the poor urban neighborhoods that a number of writers dubbed "darkest England" - in Victorian and Edwardian imperialist literature. In particular, Boone focuses on how the writings for and about youth undertook an ideological project to enlist working-class children into the British imperial enterprise, demonstrating convincingly that the British working-class youth resisted a nationalist identification process that tended to eradicate or obfuscate class differences.
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Exploring the origins and development of the labour theory of value, Peter Dooley examines its emergence from the natural law philosopher of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and its domination of the classical school of economics. This book will prove to be essential reading for all students of the history of economics.
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This book offers an insightful view of the complex relations between home and school in the working-class immigrant Italian community of New Haven, Connecticut. Through the lenses of history, sociology, and education, Learning to Forget presents a highly readable account of cross-generational experiences during the period from 1870 to 1940, chronicling one generation's suspicions toward public education and another's need to assimilate. Through careful research Lassonde finds that not all working class parents were enthusiastic supporters of education. Not only did the time and energy spent in school restrict children's potential financial contributions to the family, but attitudes that children encountered in school often ran counter to the family's traditional values. Legally mandated education and child labor laws eventually resolved these conflicts, but not without considerable reluctance and resistance.
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It is undeniably true that the Canadian labor movement has been healthier than our neighbors to the south in the past twenty years. In many ways, Canadian unions represent a positive counterpoint to the crisis of labor in the United States.… Unions in key sectors such as auto led a two-decade-long struggle against concession bargaining and have so far prevented multi-tiered wage agreements. Public sector unions have linked the defense of public sector workers with relatively effective strategies of maintaining strong popular support for public medicine and social services.… But if you look below the surface today, all is not so rosy. The long-term effects of neoliberal inspired restructuring that began in the late 1970s have reshaped the environment of today’s Canadian economy. This has given new power to employers to demand concessions. Whether the threatened outcome is takeover by a U.S. corporation, the movement of investment out of the country, enhanced dependence upon transnational investment decisions, outsourcing, or bankruptcy protection, the logic of capitalist restructuring weighs heavily on the minds of workers. This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full. Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.