Towards a Politics of the Rainbow: Self-Organization in the Trade Union Movement, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Towards a Politics of the Rainbow

Self-Organization in the Trade Union Movement, 1st Edition

By Jill C. Humphrey


316 pages

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Hardback: 9781138731974
pub: 2017-11-02
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This title was first published in 2002: The trade union movement in twentieth-century Britain has been a cornerstone for society’s marginalized members - women, disabled people, lesbians and gay men and people from black and ethnic minority communities. As these groups of workers self-organized to reform their unions, they built a bridge between the old social movement based around class position and labour identity and the new social movements based around civil rights and status stratifications. This book presents a detailed look at self-organization within public sector unions through the emergence of four self-organized groups within NALGO and later, UNISON. Drawing upon unique insider knowledge of the alliances and antipathies between the self-organized groups and the host union, the book also provides fascinating revelations of the tensions between self-organized groups themselves. This study will be essential reading for students of political sociology and industrial relations.


’Jill Humphrey has produced a richly woven, eloquent account of the cleavages, battles and alliances engendered by social movement politics. Deeply relevant to anyone concerned with discrimination, identity and coalition-building, this is a thoughtful, sensitive and ultimately life-affirming work.’ Professor Davina Cooper, University of Keele, UK ’Jill Humphrey’s book engages with urgent political questions that confront us in a fractured and unequal world. From a study of self-organization in the trades union movement, she examines the practices, problems and potential of the politics of difference in contemporary society. Her analysis - both rigorous and thought provoking - demands reading by anyone concerned with the possibilities of challenging social inequalities and oppressions.’ John Clarke, Professor of Social Policy, Open University, UK ’The richness of the data gathered and the depth of analysis offered by the book are testament to the utility of the methodological approach employed.’ Industrial Relations Journal ’…this book is a fascinating micro-study of one aspect of the movement… Sage Race Relations Abstracts

Table of Contents

Contents: The Rain Clouds: Trade unions and civil rights; Oppression and its overcoming. The Creation of a Rainbow: The NALGO experiment; The UNISON constitution; Some separatist dilemmas. The Colour Purple: Out of the work place closet; Out and about in the union; Some feminist dilemmas. Beneath and Beyond the Rainbow: Reflections from the field; Reflections for the future; Bibliography; Index.

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Subject Categories

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