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Fusion or replacement? Labour and the 'new' social movements

Heery, Edmund ORCID: 2018. Fusion or replacement? Labour and the 'new' social movements. Economic and Industrial Democracy 39 (4) , pp. 661-680. 10.1177/0143831X18777616

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A neglected element of Rethinking Industrial Relations is its critique of postmodernism. This article argues that this is regrettable on three grounds. First, core claims that characterized the postmodern account of employment relations at the time that Kelly was writing continue to be made today; particularly with regard to the characteristics of ‘new’ social movements and their capacity to replace labour as the main dynamic force advancing employee interests. Second, Kelly’s critique of postmodernism remains relevant and his observations with regard to the multiple forms and modes of action of new social movements continue to have force. Third, Kelly suggested that rather than replacing labour, new social movements were natural allies of trade unions. His argument here anticipated much later work on union–community coalitions and the final purpose of the article is to update Kelly’s ‘fusion thesis’ by identifying the ways in which labour and new social movements work together.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0143-831X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 1 May 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 00:52

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