[OPE] Workers of the World, by Marcel van der Linden

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 05:22:26 EDT

(Here's the blurb for a new book by Marcel van der Linden in English which I edited (as well as translating a few parts of it) - I have to say I think it is astonishingly expensive to buy; I assume this is the only way in which it is commercially viable to publish, but I can only hope that a cheap paperback edition will follow. It is not published in the HM series - JB).

Workers of the World: Essays toward a Global Labor History, by Marcel van der Linden, International Institute of Social History. Studies in Global Social History, 1. Brill: Leiden, 2008, 385 pp. € 129.00 / US$ 192.00

Marcel van der Linden (1952) is Research Director of the International Institute of Social History and Professor of social movement history at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on labor and working-class history and on the history of ideas. The studies offered in this volume contribute to a Global Labor History freed from Eurocentrism and methodological nationalism. Using literature from diverse regions, epochs and disciplines, the book provides arguments and conceptual tools for a different interpretation of history – a labor history which integrates the history of slavery and indentured labor, and which pays serious attention to diverging yet interconnected developments in different parts of the world. 

Three questions are central: 

▪ What is the nature of the world working class, on which Global Labor History focuses? How can we define and demarcate that class, and which factors determine its composition? 
▪ Which forms of collective action did this working class develop in the course of time, and what is the logic in that development? 
▪ What can we learn from adjacent disciplines? Which insights from anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists are useful in the development of Global Labor History? 

Table of contents

1. Introduction 


2. Who are the workers? 
3. Why `free’ wage labor? 
4. Why chattel slavery? 

Varieties of mutualism 

5. The mutualist universe 
6. Mutual insurance 
7. Consumer cooperatives 
8. Producer cooperatives 

Forms of resistance 

9. Strikes 
10. Consumer protest 
11. Unions 
12. Internationalism 

Insights from adjacent disciplines 

13. World systems theory 
14. Entangled subsistence labor 
15. The Iatmul experience 

16. Outlook 



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