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Cross-National Comparisons of Social Movement Unionism

Diversities of Labour Movement Revitalization in Japan, Korea and the United States


Edited By Akira Suzuki

For the past two decades efforts to halt the decline in union numbers and revitalize the labour movement have largely resided in social movement unionism (SMU). In the first English-language book to compare SMU in Japan, Korea and the United States, scholars from the three countries examine its emergence as a response to neoliberal globalization. Cross-National Comparisons of Social Movement Unionism moves beyond previous studies of SMU and union revitalization which have focussed on the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The eleven chapters offer empirical and theoretical analyses of the impact of SMU on existing labour movements, and explain the mediating factors that account for the diversity of SMU across national boundaries, arguing that its forms and activities are mediated by different institutional, political and economic contexts.


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The chapters of this volume, except Chapter 1 (Introduction) and Chapter 6, are based on papers originally presented at the “Conference on the Cross- national Comparison of Labour Movement Revitalization,” a two-day event hosted by the Ohara Institute for Social Research, Hosei University, held in Tokyo on 18–19 December 2010. Financial support for the conference was provided by the Science Research Promotion Fund and Hosei University. I would like to thank participants of the conference, including Andrew Gordon, Mark Brenner, Toru Shinoda, and Kumiko Hagiwara, for their thoughtful comments. After the conference, I embarked on this project of editing a volume based on the conference papers. I would like to thank each author for timely submission of revised papers and Minjin Lee for permission to include an English translation of her article in the edited volume. I also would like to acknowledge Stephanie Luce and Charles Weathers for their comments on the introductory chapter and express my gratitude to Satoshi Kaneko, my research assistant, for preparing many statistical tables and figures, some of which are included in the Appendix. I am also grateful to Robert Sauté who carefully edited the book manuscript. — Akira Suzuki

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