Solidarity First
264 pages, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Release Date:01 Jan 2009
Release Date:21 Apr 2008
Release Date:01 Jan 2009

Solidarity First

Canadian Workers and Social Cohesion

Edited by Robert O'Brien
UBC Press

Debates about social cohesion reflect the unease ofcontemporary society as we face growing inequality and economicrestructuring. Solidarity First examines the concept andpractice of social cohesion from the perspective of its impact on, andsignificance for, workers.

Contributors examine the functioning of social cohesion at multiplelevels. Standard approaches are challenged by highlighting theexperiences of women and non-Canadians. Attempts to construct corporateforms of cohesion and community efforts to forge cohesion via the newcultural economy are investigated, while.the relationship betweencohesion in Canada and the international environment is examined byconsidering the international activity of Canadian civic actors, thefailure of Canada to live up to international labour obligations, andthe implications of International Labour Organization reforms forinformal sector workers.

Solidarity First concludes by arguing that reinvigoratedworker solidarity is a prerequisite to moving toward a moreworker-friendly form of social cohesion.

Solidarity First is about working class experience in the era of globalization and neo-liberalism; the contributors show how this experience provides an invaluable lens through which to evaluate the discourse and set of practices that go under the label "social cohesion." Well-written and clear, it will be read by researchers in a variety of social science disciplines. Stephen McBride, co-editor of Global Turbulence: Social Activists' and State Responses to Globalization
An important and timely book that engages a uniquely critical perspective on the liberal ideology of social cohesion from a labour perspective. I can think of no other source with the depth of analysis and range of case studies."

– Colin Mooers, editor of The New Imperialists: Ideologies of Empire

Robert O’Brien is the LIUNA-MancinelliProfessor in Global Labour Issues and chair of the Department ofPolitical Science at McMaster University.

Contributors: Roy Adams, Holly Gibbs, BelindaLeach, Wayne Lewchuck, Mark Thomas, Larry Haiven, Leah Vosko, DonWells, and Charlotte Yates.

Table of Contents


1 Introduction: Canadian Workers and Social Cohesion / RobertO’Brien


Part 1: Conceptualizing Social Cohesion

2 Gendering the Concept of Social Cohesion through an Understandingof Women and Work / Belinda Leach and Charlotte Yates

3 Social Cohesion, International Competitiveness, and the"Other": A Connected Comparison of Workers’Relationships in Canada and Mexico / Holly Gibbs


Part 2: Constructing Social Cohesion

4 Workplace Cohesion and the Fragmentation of Solidarity: The MagnaModel / Wayne Lewchuk and Don Wells

5 Working Time and Labour Control in the Toyota Production System /Mark Thomas

6 Cultural Production and Social Cohesion amid the Decline of Coaland Steel: The Case of Cape Breton Island / Larry Haiven


Part 3: Internationalizing Social Cohesion

7 Civil Society Targets the International / RobertO’Brien

8 International Labour Norms and Worker Disorganization in Canada /Roy Adams

9 ILO Action on "The Scope of the EmploymentRelationship": Lessons from Canada on the Gendered Limits ofFostering Social Cohesion / Leah F. Vosko

10 Conclusion: Beyond Social Cohesion / RobertO’Brien




List of Contributors


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