How We Struggle: A Political Anthropology of Labour (Anthropology, Culture and Society)
A comparative, ethnographic approach to the question of labour struggles and workers' political agency
'A masterful book – a resource that makes anthropology matter' - Andrea Muehlebach, Professor of Anthropology, University of Bremen
When it comes to labor movements, unionized industrial workers on the factory floor have only ever been part of the picture. Across so many different workplaces, sectors of the economy, and geographical contexts, the question of how working people struggle in the day-to-day has no single answer.
Here Sian Lazar offers a unique anthropological perspective on labor agency that takes in examples from across the globe, from heavy industry and agriculture to the service and informal sectors. She asks: how do people strive to improve their lives and working conditions? How are they constrained and enabled in that struggle by the nature of the work they do, and by their own positionality in local histories, cultures, and networks?
How We Struggle explores worker action across the spectrum from organized trade unionism to individualized strategies of accommodation, resistance, and escape. The book marries a discussion of global political economy and Marxist feminist theories of labor with ethnographic approaches that begin from a perspective of human experience, kinship, and radical heterogeneity.