Miguel Martínez Lucio
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Uncertainty and undecidability in the contemporary state
The dualist and complex role of the state in Spanish labour and employment relations in an age of ‘flexibility’

The state is a complex and even contradictory space, an ensemble of institutions balancing representative, interventionist and institutional dynamics (Jessop, 1982, 2002). What is more, the state intervenes not just in social spaces but also in ideological ones where specific issues, sensibilities and even national debates develop and configure the nature and impact of state policies (Locke & Thelen, 2006) – (see Martinez Lucio and MacKenzie, 2017 for an overview). Within these social and ideological spaces the question of gender and equality more broadly is a significant dimension which is often missing but which, when added to any analysis, will allow us to evaluate more clearly the extent and failings of labour rights and policy – as Jill Rubery’s work shows. Furthermore, in relation to the role of the state in the current context of austerity, we need to be also mindful of believing that the state will be easily reconfigured into a ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘withdrawn state’ in terms of the economy as the emerging social tensions and contradictions in social and employment terms will draw aspects of the state back into new roles (Rubery, 2010).

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Making work more equal

A new labour market segmentation approach


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