The Emergence of the social strike - A new opportunity for labour?
Sammanfattning: In recent years a new emergent form of collective action – the social strike – has been discussed in social movement networks. So far, the concept of social strike has only surfaced briefly in previous research and this article aims to deepen the understanding of the concept and why it is emerging in our historical moment. In order to do this the article looks at a social movement network called Transnational Social Strike Platform (TSS). In the analysis both movement texts produced by TSS was used as well as ethnographic material collected at an assembly meeting in London. According to my analysis it is hard to define the social strike as a distinct form of collective action. Instead, the emergence of the concept of social strike should be located at the historical impasse of late capitalism. I suggest that the concept of social strike offers an imaginary solution to the disappearance 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 detaches the strike from its material base in waged labour. In this process, the strike becomes a multivocal symbol that can be invoked by actors in order to give symbolic support and discursive legitimisation to their struggles. As the symbolic dimensions of the strike gets increasingly detached from its material anchor in waged labour the value of using the strike as a symbol of resistance may erode as it no longer can deliver the concrete material effects of collective work stoppage that historically has given the strike its pivotal role in labour struggles.
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