Social movement unionism? : an analysis of labour organisations strategies in the global political economy
This thesis examines the extent to which the modern labour movement is utilising social movement unionism as a form of organisation in the modern political economy. A multi-level analytical approach utilises a Gramscian inspired theoretical framework to look at developments at the national, regional, and global levels of the labour movement in the modern global political economy. Issues at stake are i) understanding the issues affecting the labour movement in the age of globalisation; ii) the degree to which social movement unionism presents the labour movement a framework for renewal; iii) the extent to which key themes of social movement unionism are being implemented by those within the labour movement at all levels; and iv) whether there exists at present a form of labour organisation that presents a true test for social movement unionism. This thesis adds to contemporary literature by combining analysis of existing academic debates with original primary material (a series of interviews with several key figures within the labour movement), in order that the relevancy of contemporary academic arguments for tangible developments surrounding the labour movement is determined. The insights gained from these interviews are incorporated into the body of this thesis. After an outline of initial points of contextualisation in chapter one, chapter two moves to provide the theoretical framework for this research. Chapter three discusses issues of globalisation that affect the labour movement. The thesis then moves to analyse tangible issues surrounding the labour movement, with chapter four outlining the British labour movement's experiences and responses to challenges faced. Chapter five analyses the degree to which the European level presents a viable framework for the internationalisation of the labour movement, whilst chapter six shifts focus to the global level. At this point it will be argued that non-traditional labour organisations and social forums provide potential catalysts for the widespread adoption of social movement unionism. The final chapter provides concluding arguments and a revisiting of the researches main points.