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Workers, Citizens, Governance

Socio-Cultural Innovation at Work

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Francesco Garibaldo, Mirella Baglioni, Catherine Casey and Volker Telljohann

This book pursues principal aims. First it describes and reviews current concerns in regard to the conditions of labour markets, production organizations, working conditions, and industrial and employment relations. Prominent among these concerns are the crisis in trade unions and in democratic labour market institutions, and the rise of what many critics regard as technocratic administrative powers in the displacement of democratic practices. Furthermore the book explores aspects of the search for socio-cultural innovation in the wide areas of work, industrial, organizational, management, and employment relations. It therefore deals with participatory democratic practices in the world of work and production, with citizenship, social cohesion, wider participation in education and training, as well as with cultural interests in identity, solidarity and non-market values.

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Working Conditions in the Enlarged European Union: For Better, for Worse? Peter Brödner

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1 Introduction: Epochal change While sharp contradictions indicate a crisis of working life, Europe’s social wealth is at risk. Conflictive requirements for work organisation and working conditions are part of a larger picture, in which production systems in highly de- veloped societies since the 1970ies undergo several radical changes superposing and folding each other in various ways. Among the winds of change, when fo- cusing on work organisation and working conditions, the erosion of the Fordistic production regime, the increasing division of labour in globally organised value creation chains, and the growing dominance of financial over production capital are of particular relevance. All this coincides with the underlying basic transition from industrial to knowledge-based value creation that requires intensified de- velopment of human working capacity frequently being undermined, however, by the imperatives of profitable capital exploitation. Success and dominance of the Fordistic production regime rooted in the socio- economic development of standardised industrial mass production and con- sumption politically stabilised over decades by an institutional system of strong industrial relations, expanding social security, and widely distributed purchasing power due to steadily growing incomes (‘welfare state’). This epoch came to an end when the accumulation crisis of the mid 1970ies with its oil price shocks and the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system created problems of ‘stagflation’ that could no longer be mastered by well-rehearsed methods of controlling macro-economic demand. The crisis provided an opportunity for the monetary turn from Keynes to Friedman and for the neoliberal doctrines of ‘rational ex-...

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