Politicizing contingent work: Countering neoliberal labor market regulation… from the bottom up?

Peck, Jamie, and Nik Theodore. 

South Atlantic Quarterly 111, no. 4 (2012): 741-761.


The dismantling of the Fordist social contract and the neoliberalization of labor regulation have been associated with a historic shift toward decentralized, commodified, and atomized employment relationships, vividly reflected in the rise of temping and the (re)appearance of labor corners. This essay explores how these regressive tendencies—which have constituted a deregulatory “gravitational pull” on labor standards—have been met by resurgent forms of worker advocacy, organizing, and campaigning in contingent labor markets. Worker centers are at the heart of this effort to advance the rights of low-waged and immigrant workers from the bottom up, the countervailing maneuvers of which can be seen as an embryonic form of repoliticization, a new politics of contingent labor.

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