The Emerge of the social strike - A new opportunity for labour?

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/ Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: In recent years a new emergent form of collective action – the social strike – has been discussed insocial movement networks. So far, the concept of social strike has only surfaced briefly in previousresearch and this article aims to deepen the understanding of the concept and why it is emerging inour historical moment. In order to do this the article looks at a social movement network calledTransnational Social Strike Platform (TSS). In the analysis both movement texts produced by TSSwas used as well as ethnographic material collected at an assembly meeting in London. Accordingto my analysis it is hard to define the social strike as a distinct form of collective action. Instead, theemergence of the concept of social strike should be located at the historical impasse of latecapitalism. I suggest that the concept of social strike offers an imaginary solution to thedisappearance of the working class as a political subject and reflects the eclipse of organised labour.The social strike uses the symbolic dimensions of the strike as a symbol of resistance but detachesthe strike from its material base in waged labour. In this process, the strike becomes a multivocalsymbol that can be invoked by actors in order to give symbolic support and discursivelegitimisation to their struggles. As the symbolic dimensions of the strike gets increasingly detachedfrom its material anchor in waged labour the value of using the strike as a symbol of resistance mayerode as it no longer can deliver the concrete material effects of collective work stoppage thathistorically has given the strike its pivotal role in labour struggles.

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