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Labour market intermediation II: Buttressing, flanking or contesting precarity in neoliberal times

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Norma Rantisi, Deborah Leslie, Mostafa Henaway
Chairs: Mostafa Henaway


The last several decades have been associated with tremendous instability in labour markets, what Zizys (2011) refers to as a “perfect storm”. Increasing number of workers are employed in precarious jobs, with precarity stratified by gender, race and class (Fudge and Strauss, 2013; Strauss, 2018; Vosko, 2000). The decline of the welfare state and rise of neoliberal modes of governance have prompted the rise of new types of intervention, and in particular, new types of labour market intermediaries. In order to fill the gaps left by cutbacks to state programs and organized labour, a range of intermediaries and “shadow state” institutions now play a more important role (Martin 2011; Peck and Theodore, 2007). These intermediaries include private sector intermediaries (such as temporary help agencies), membership-based intermediaries (including guilds and professional associations), but also a range of publicly-funded agencies, non-profits, and community organizations, such as neighbourhood workers’ centers or work-integration social enterprises (Benner 2003; Peck and Theodore, 2001, 2012; Choudry and Henaway 2014). While many intermediaries are involved in struggles that challenge the nature of contemporary labour markets, potentially intersecting and/or allying with organized labour unions, many end up compensating for the inadequacies of the capitalist market or more actively facilitating the rise of precarious employment. This session aims to bring together scholars who are looking at a range of intermediaries, from the more regressive to the more transformative, and the contradictions embedded in these institutional forms. We are interested in examining the evolving landscape of labour market intermediation, and what it implies for tactics, strategies and policies for attaining decent, secure work.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Piyusha Chatterjee*, Concord University, “Yes, I was putting money in the bank but…” Self-organizing to turn busking into work in Montreal metro 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Marc Doussard*, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Economic and Racial Justice Coalitions: Intersectionality in the Fight for Fair Work 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Deborah Leslie*, University Of Toronto, Norma Rantisi*, Concordia University, Interrogating the Transformative Potential of Labour-Market Intermediaries: A Comparison of a Work-Integration Social Enterprise and a Workers’ Centre in Montreal 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Ozge Yenigun*, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Dept of Urban & Reg Pl), Labor Market Incorporation of Immigrants in Berlin: The Role of Migrant Civil Society 15 12:00 AM
Presenter James DeFilippis*, Rutgers University, Labor and economic justice in the immigrant city 15 12:00 AM

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