Open Access (free)
Unheard voices and invisible agency

This chapter extends the inquiry into the contested nature of restructuring in production and work by exploring the concrete everyday experiences of workers. In line with an IPE of social practice approach, the chapter explores the everyday practices of work that variously enable, contest or confound the emerging social relations of globalisation. This chapter takes the analysis of the restructuring of work beyond a discussion of the politics of states and firms, toward an increased visibility for the concrete experiences of workers who are differentially positioned in the IPE of work.

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work

Bringing fresh insights to the contemporary globalization debate, this text reveals the social and political contests that give ‘global’ its meaning, by examining the contested nature of globalization as it is expressed in the restructuring of work. The book rejects conventional explanations of globalization as a process that automatically leads to transformations in working lives, or as a project that is strategically designed to bring about lean and flexible forms of production, and advances an understanding of the social practices that constitute global change. Through case studies that span from the labour flexibility debates in Britain and Germany to the strategies and tactics of corporations and workers, it examines how globalization is interpreted and experienced in everyday life and argues that contestation has become a central feature of the practices that enable or confound global restructuring.

This chapter explores the conceptions of globalisation and restructuring on which the discourse of labour flexibility is based. It explores the particular representation of globalisation as an indomitable process that demands specific restructuring responses. The analysis focuses on five defining aspects of the process-centred view of globalisation: exogenous transformative forces, disciplinary imperatives, historical convergence, social prescription and the death of conflict. It argues that these guiding assumptions about the nature and form of contemporary social change have much in common with the modernisation thesis of the industrial society school. Rather than constituting a fundamental break with past practices, the global process model of social change has recast a set of ideas that are deployed to legitimate a programme of labour flexibilisation.

in Globalisation contested

This chapter examines the contribution that the field of IPE can make to raise the visibility of alternative politicised understandings of social change. In many senses, the field has defined itself in terms of its capacity to shed light on the dynamics of contemporary global social transformation. This chapter sketches out the parameters of the claims made by so-called ‘new IPE’ scholars, and analyses their departure from ‘orthodox’ IPE perspectives. There are further steps to be taken in prising open some of the doors that have been closed by dominant IPE ontologies, and the discussion outlines one of them here: an IPE of social practice. It proposes that such a perspective can reveal the politics and contingency of globalisation as it is characterised by contests over the reality and representation of social change.

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)

This chapter develops a typology that helps with thinking about the relationship between conceptions of globalisation and particular sets of interests in the framing of restructuring discourse. It considers the different perspectives on globalisation as distinctive constructions of knowledge that have significant implications for contemporary processes of restructuring. It advances a threefold typology of perspectives on globalisation, each of which has particular implications both for the study of global change and for the restructuring discourse that emerges in production and work.

in Globalisation contested
The restructuring of work in Germany

This chapter considers the restructuring debate taking place in German state-society. In popular and academic discourse, Germany is often presented either as a proving ground for globalisation or as a rebuttal to globalisation. This chapter argues that perceptions of the German relationship to globalisation, both inside and outside the state-society, are contradictory and contested. It explores the historical institutions and practices of state, capital and labour that have made possible particular programmes of restructuring in Germany. It also discusses the contemporary restructuring of working practices, revealing the dominant negotiated programme of ‘flexicorporatism’.

in Globalisation contested
The restructuring of work in Britain

This chapter discusses the representation of globalisation underpinning British programmes of ‘hyperflexibility’ in the restructuring of work. It addresses the ‘national capitalisms’ debate, exploring the making of a distinctively British capitalism, and discussing the contemporary discursive remaking of a ‘global Britain’. It notes the use of the IPE of social practice to reveal the tensions and contradictions of British hyperflexibility.

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
Back to the future

This concluding chapter stresses the implications of arguments made by authors in the different sections of the book; highlighting possible broader research questions surrounding digital mapping and temporality that arise. In particular, in relation to the first section of the book, it suggests research might usefully attend to relations of spatiality and temporality, focus on the difficulties of distinguishing between the ephemeral and epochal, and investigate temporal consequences stemming from layering implicit in digital mapping. From the second section, it suggests research might attend more to the possibilities of resistance in the face of technological inevitability, that research might focus on methods for understanding affordances arising in the stitching together of everyday memories in a transient technological age, and suggests we might focus more on places than on spaces in that context. From the final section, it suggests that conceptual, material and anticipatory logics underpinning the organisation of time in digital mapping demand attention. Together, these directions highlight the profoundly social consequences of a shift towards temporality.

in Time for mapping
The case for practice theory

The increasing range and mobility of platforms and devices supporting digital maps has opened space for change; everyday routines are disturbed and reflexively modified while the landscape of technical infrastructures shift. In this, digital technologies, such as digital maps, are beginning to anchor everyday life and a myriad of mundane temporalities. In this chapter, a brief outline of cartographic theory contextualises the value of practice theory in addressing the extent to which digital maps anchor everyday life and the process by which they do so; a historical limitation in cartographic theory. Applying a practice theory lens to three examples of anchored temporality, this argument is empirically grounded. The chapter serves to practically illustrate how a practice theory might be applied and the value it may add in addressing relationships between digital map use and the wider shifting temporalities of everyday life.

in Time for mapping
Exploring the real-time smart city dashboard

This contribution unpacks the notion of ‘real-time’ and explores ‘asynchronicity’ as a way to explore temporality in the nexus of urban dashboards. It is argued that attempts to annihilate time as a constraining factor in mapping the urban metabolism bypass the creative and oftentimes messy role of ‘smart citizens’ in shaping their own living conditions. Real-time, in fact, may be at odds with smartness and city life. Notions of asynchronicity can sensitise us to the hidden assumptions and potential fallacies in the rhetoric about real-time, and help to evoke a more engaging role of citizens as ‘city hackers’ with a sense of collective ‘ownership’. Evaluation of recent investigations of urban dashboards is followed by an analysis of the term real-time, building on Barbara Adam’s typology of time. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the implications of the real-time trope, and how asynchronicity provides an alternative heuristic of the real-time smart city.

in Time for mapping