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Atzeni, Maurizio, Azzellini, Dario, Mezzadri, Alessandra, Moore, Phoebe and Apitzsch, Ursula (2023) 'Introduction: what is work and what is the political economy of work.' In: Handbook of Research on the Global Political Economy of Work. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 1-32.

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Abstract

The exploitation of work and workers within capitalism continues to be reproduced according to the political economy of capital: profitability. This drive for profitability produces different forms of domination and control within the employment relationship; creates precarious working classes in specific territories; continues to devalue the labours of social reproduction both in the invisibility of the home and in marketised care chains; uses wars and conflicts to exploit migrants; takes advantage of conditions of uneven geographical development to perpetuate imperialism, increasing extractivism and exploitation in the Global South. Given this background of system-generated changes, and their regional continuities and discontinuities, we have planned this book on the Global Political Economy of Work as a handbook that aims to go beyond the traditional disciplinary or sub-disciplinary boundaries. We understand work, work relations and the subjects involved in it in broader terms, both empirically and theoretically. Empirically we see the need to produce an exhaustive and comprehensive account of the relations existing between different forms of work, exploitation, class configuration and workers' resistance in their articulation with the changing dynamics of the global capitalism political economy and changing geographies of production. These relations, which are continuously updated by technological changes, produce different configurations of work that need to be inserted in a theoretical framework that is based on the Marxist tradition of critique of political economy, but that is at the same time and for its own nature interdisciplinary and in dialogue with other radical traditions. We have thus structured the handbook to include chapters that can give an authoritative account of traditional and current theoretical debates in geographically and historically diverse empirical contexts, using insights from the broad spectrum of the social sciences and, based on editors' and authors' expertise, from different regional vantage points. We hope this approach can contribute to create a truly interdisciplinary/interconnected analysis, speaking to the labour debates and material realities relevant to both the Global North and Global South, and attenuating the Eurocentrism which has characterised much of the labour studies literature. Our aspiration is to build the basis for an anti-colonial and decolonial labour studies agenda, which understands the political economy of work globally and intersectionally, using arguments, concepts and perspectives that are rooted in Marxist and critical theory debates from different parts of the world economy. While we do not claim here to succeed in the complex task of decolonising the political economy of work - also given the social composition of the editorial team - we hope to contribute to setting its foundations as a necessary intellectual and political emancipatory project.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9781839106576
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.4337/9781839106583.00007
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2023 08:09
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/40787
Related URLs: https://www.e-e ... 1839106576.html (Publisher URL)

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