Industry and Work in Contemporary Capitalism: Global Models, Local Lives?, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Industry and Work in Contemporary Capitalism

Global Models, Local Lives?, 1st Edition

Edited by Victoria Goddard, Susana Narotzky


196 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-01-23
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Throughout history and in every geographical location, the rise and fall of industry, which impact the fate of large populations, are tied to the development and cultural entanglement of particular models that are articulated with political power. Models are understood as knowledge devices – expert, theoretical, practical and commonsense – that are embedded in cultural and social environments and designed through struggles at various scales.

This book results from the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team bringing together specialists in anthropology, geography, sociology, economics, political science, mathematics and engineering around the theme of ‘Models and their Effects on Development Paths’. Based on empirical research conducted on the heavy industries, Industry and Work in Contemporary Capitalism addresses how models that inform the organization of work and production and are created by powerful actors may diverge from, overlap with, or contradict the models articulated by less powerful actors on the ground, and how they are connected across material and cultural spaces. Careful observation of industrial work and production as they unfold in and across specific localities and affects people’s livelihoods is complemented by analysis of how models circulate, through which channels of power, which institutional entities, which political connections.

This volume explores an extensive theoretical terrain and a number of empirical cases that show, from different perspectives, how ideas about the economy, about work and industry, materialize in specific practices and interventions that affect people’s livelihoods.

Table of Contents

1. Industry and Work in Contemporary Capitalism: Models, markets and crisis in the global system, Susana Narotzky and Victoria Goddard Part I: Models - What they are and what they do 2. Isomorphism and Local Interests in the Spread of Global Policies: An enquiry into privatization policy adoption using computer modelling and simulation, Arianna Dal Forno and Edoardo Mollona 3. Modelling the Economy with Language, Douglas Holmes 4. Class and Social Order: Political consequences of the move from class to culture, David Ost Part II: Scale and Disjuncture 5. Steel Industry, Geography, and Regional Development: Evolving and travelling concepts, Costis Hadjimichalis and Yorgos Melissourgos 6. Learning from Minas Gerais: Flows of capital, production and managerial models in the steel industry, Gustavo Lins Ribeiro 7. Continuities and Discontinuities of Economic Models and Workers’ Perception of Model Changes in Argentina, Laura Perelman and Patricia Vargas Part III: Innovation Technologies and Power 8. Global Dynamics, Local Responses to Industrial Innovation and Livelihood Transformations, Carmen Bueno 9. Politics for Industrial Machines: Techno-political transitions in a Spanish steel plant, Elena González-Polledo Part IV: Policies and Politics 10. Civil society, Global Governance and the Circulation of Models, Flávia Lessa de Barros 11. Spain’s Labour Reforms: Temporariness, flexibility, and discipline of the working class, Ubaldo Martínez Veiga 12. Reflections on an industrial policy for a sustainable European steel industry, Enrico Gibellieri

About the Editors

Victoria Goddard is Professor and National Teaching Fellow at the Anthropology Department of Goldsmiths, University of London. She has carried out research on informal sector work, households and small-scale industry in southern Italy and on gender and politics in Argentina. Her publications focus on informal economies and politics, with an emphasis on gender and work.

Susana Narotzky is Professor of Social Anthropology at the Universitat de Barcelona and Fellow at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam. She holds the Fellowship ICREA-Academia awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya for the period 2010–2015. Her research has focused on issues of informal economy and the politics of deregulation. Her project ‘Grassroots Economics: Meaning, Project and Practice in the Pursuit of Livelihood’ (GRECO) was funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant 2012.

About the Series


Culture, Economy and the Social

This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.

We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural economy
  • Cities and urban change
  • Materiality, sociality and the post-human
  • Culture and media industries
  • Culture and governance
  • Emerging forms of cultural and economic practice

The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General