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Worker Resistance and Media

Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century


Lina Dencik and Peter Wilkin

With developments in media technologies creating new opportunities and challenges for social movements to emerge and mobilize, this book is a timely and necessary examination of how organized labour and workers movements are engaging with this shifting environment. Based on extensive empirical research into emerging migrant and low-wage workers movements and their media practices, this book takes a critical look at the nature of worker resistance to ever-growing global corporate power in a digital age. Situating trade unionism in historical context, the book considers other forms of worker organizations and unionism, including global unionism, social movement unionism, community unionism, and syndicalist unionism, all of which have become increasingly relevant in a digitized world-system. At a time when the labour movement is said to be in crisis, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the state of the labour movement, the future of unions, and the possibilities for challenging corporate exploitation of workers today.


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Introduction. Labour, Media and Globalisation


introduction: labour, media and globalisation This book situates the relationship between global crises and the media in the context of what we see as two central and interrelated developments in the twenty-first century: the rise of global corporate power and the decline of the labour movement. The media occupies a long-standing and compli- cated place in the history of labour movements—as a space for visibility and resistance—but to a larger extent as an instrument for repression and social control (Waterman, 2004, p. xxiii). However, the media environment is said to be changing, becoming more complex and differentiated, and creating new opportunities and challenges (Flew, 2007; Keane, 2013). How, then, has the labour movement been able to take advantage of these changes in media plat- forms as part of the struggle to mobilise, organise and respond to increasingly global corporate activity? In order to understand and make sense of the current crisis in the labour movement globally it is necessary to take a long-term, structural and historical view of the development of the modern world-system. It is within this context that the labour movement has emerged and evolved, adapting to the chang- ing nature of capitalism and the nation-state. What remains a constant is the continuing assault upon the labour movement by capital and the state, a re- ality depicted sharply in the recently established Global Rights Index created 2 worker resistance and media by the International Trade Union Confederation to rank countries in terms of how well they...

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