Policy Press

Recasting Workers' Power

Work and Inequality in the Shadow of the Digital Age

By Edward Webster and Lynford Dor

Published

Jul 17, 2023

Page count

200 pages

ISBN

978-1529218794

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jul 17, 2023

Page count

200 pages

ISBN

978-1529218787

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jul 17, 2023

Page count

200 pages

ISBN

978-1529218800

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jul 17, 2023

Page count

200 pages

ISBN

978-1529218800

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Recasting Workers' Power

Much of the debate on the future of work has focused on responses to technological trends in the Global North, with little evidence on how these trends are impacting work and workers in the Global South.

Drawing on a rich selection of ethnographic studies of precarious work in Africa, this innovative book discusses how globalisation and digitalisation are drivers for structural change and examines their implications for labour. Bringing together global labour studies and inequality studies, it explores the role of digital technology in new business models, and ways in which digitalisation can be harnessed for counter mobilisation by the new worker.

“Webster and his colleagues have done it again! Their careful ethnographic studies offer a much-needed perspective from Africa on the central challenges facing labour worldwide: the disruptive impact of digital technologies and how workers can mobilise in response.” Ruth Milkman, City University of New York

“Refuting pessimistic accounts of the decline of worker power, Webster has written a masterful account of new worker struggles in the Global South, with valuable lessons for the Global North.” Chris Tilly, University of California, Los Angeles

"Knowledge production must show how worker resistance can be harnessed into a global movement to confront exploitation. This collection explores how real problems and processes should be the focus of research and the analysis of its findings." Akua O Britwum, University of Cape Coast

‘Workers as helpless victims of new technology? Not so argues Eddie Webster in this powerful book on labour’s innovative forms of organisation and new power resources in the Global South. A must read!’ Andreas Bieler, University of Nottingham

Edward Webster is Distinguished Research Professor at the Southern Centre of Inequality Studies and the founder and past director of the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. Professor Webster was the recipient of the first South African Sociological Association (SASA) lifetime award for his contribution to the academic study of the sociology of work and labour in South Africa.

Lynford Dor is a Doctoral Researcher at KU Leuven's Centre for Sociological Research (CESO) and a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg's SARCHI Chair in Social Change (CSC).

1. The End of Labour? Rethinking the Labour Question in the Digital Age

2. Precarious Work after Apartheid: Experimenting with Alternative Forms of Representation in the Informal Sector - with Kally Forrest

3. Neo-liberalism comes to Johannesburg: Changing the Rules of the Game

4. Divided Workers, Divided Struggles: Entrenching Dualisation and the Struggle for Equalisation in South Africa’s Manufacturing Sector - Lynford Dor

5. Authoritarian Algorithmic Management: The Double-edged Sword of the Gig Economies - with Fikile Masikane

6. Crossing the Divide: Informal Workers and Trade Unions - with Carmen Ludwig

7. Global Capital, Global Labour: The Possibilities of Transnational Activism - with Carmen Ludwig

8. Changing Sources of Power and the Future of Southern Labour