Introduction: A Wide-Angle Lens for a Global Marketplace
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Wever, Kirsten S.; Turner, Lowell
[Excerpt] We hope in this volume to accomplish three things. First, we hope to meet the wide and growing demand in the IR community for a better understanding of industrial relations developments abroad. That is, we would like to help lift comparative IR out of its secondary status to a more prominent position within the field as well as reaffirm its centrality to other fields, such as comparative political economy and political sociology. Secondly, we aim to shed light on the specific comparison between other advanced industrial economies and industrializing countries, on the one hand, and the U.S., on the other. Since employee representation in the U.S. is experiencing a crisis more profound than in many, if not most, other countries, we believe that the effort to draw as many lessons as possible from other cases is well timed. Finally, we hope to move the field forward in its effort to specify a theory of industrial relations that can update the "New Deal Model." Recently industrial relations scholars have been reaching toward higher levels of analysis to balance the field's traditional shopfloor focus and explain events that the country-centered framework cannot capture (see, for example, Kochan and Osterman 1995). Likewise, after decades of focusing on macro-level variables, comparative political economists (such as ourselves) are increasingly interested in trying to understand shopfloor industrial relations (Thelen 1991; Turner 1991; Wever 1995). We hope this work will aid in these endeavors.
industrial relations; comparative political economics; globalization; labor movement
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