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Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism: Precarity, Class, and the Neoliberal Subject

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Volume 4

Max Planck Studies in Anthropology and Economy

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Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism

Precarity, Class, and the Neoliberal Subject

Edited by Chris Hann and Jonathan Parry
Afterword by Michael Burawoy

384 pages, 9 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-678-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-679-9 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This well-written, carefully integrated volume, edited by two of the more outstanding British social anthropologists of their generation, offers a valuable contribution to the field.” · John Harriss, London School of Economics


Bringing together ethnographic case studies of industrial labor from different parts of the world, Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism explores the increasing casualization of workforces and the weakening power of organized labor. This division owes much to state policies and is reflected in local understandings of class. By exploring this relationship, these essays question the claim that neoliberal ideology has become the new ‘commonsense’ of our times and suggest various propositions about the conditions that create employment regimes based on flexible labor.

Chris Hann is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Previously he was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Kent (Canterbury). He has authored and edited numerous books in economic anthropology, especially with reference to socialist and post-socialist societies.

Jonathan Parry is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where he has been affiliated since 1974. He is the author of several classic ethnographies of India, and of major contributions to economic anthropology and general anthropological theory.

Subject: General Anthropology Political Economy


List of Illustrations

Chris Hann

Introduction: Precarity, Class, and the Neoliberal Subject
Jonathan Parry

Chapter 1. Varieties of Capital, Fracture of Labor: A Comparative Ethnography of Subcontracting and Labor Precarity on the Zambian Copperbelt
Ching Kwan Lee

Chapter 2. Miners and Their Children: The Remaking of the Soviet Working Class in Kazakhstan
Eeva Kesküla

Chapter 3. Work, Precarity and Resistance: Company and Contract Labor in Kazakhstan’s Former Soviet Steel Town
Tommaso Trevisani

Chapter 4. Regular Work in Decline, Precarious Households and Changing Solidarities in Bulgaria
Dimitra Kofti

Chapter 5. Precarious Labor and Precarious Livelihoods in an Indian Company Town
Christian Strümpell

Chapter 6. Regimes of Precarity: Buruh, Karyawan, and the Politics of Labor Identity in Indonesia
Daromir Rudnyckyj

Chapter 7. Between God and the State: Class, Precarity, and Cosmology on the Margins of an Egyptian Steel Town
Dina Makram-Ebeid

Chapter 8. The (Un-)Making of Labor: Capitalist Accelerations and Their Human Toll at a South Korean Shipyard in the Philippines
Elisabeth Schober

Chapter 9. Relative Precarity: Decline, Hope and the Politics of Work
Andrew Sanchez

Chapter 10. From Avtoritet and Autonomy to Self-exploitation in the Russian Automotive Industry
Jeremy Morris and Sarah Hinz

Chapter 11. Precarity, Guanxi, and the Informal Economy of Peasant Workers in Contemporary China
I-Chieh Fang

Chapter 12. From Dispossessed Factory Workers to “Micro-entrepreneurs”: The Precariousness of Employment in Trinidad’s Garment Sector
Rebecca Prentice

Chapter 13. Towards a Political Economy of Skill and Garment Work: The Case of the Tiruppur Industrial Cluster in South India
Grace Carswell and Geert De Neve

Chapter 14. From Casual to Permanent Work: Maoist Unionists and the Regularization of Contract Labor in the Industries of Western Nepal
Michael Peter Hoffmann

Afterword: Third Wave Marketization
Michael Burawoy


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