The Puzzle of Strikes: Class and State Strategies in Postwar Italy

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 23, 2006 - Political Science - 532 pages
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This book presents, through an extensive and novel inductive approach, an analysis of the temporal dynamics of postwar Italian strikes in the industrial sector. The author begins by highlighting a set of characteristics in the strike data that call for explanation: the pieces of the puzzle. Then, chapter by chapter, the author uses a broad range of available strike theories - business cycle, economic, hardship, resource mobilization, bargaining structure, political exchange, and Marxist - as clues to assemble the puzzle. The study has the organizational structure of a mystery story, with its sequence of false steps, pat solutions, and unexpected twists and turns. This is characterized in the final chapter of the book, when the causal argument is completely reversed. The book is also novel in its combined use of statistical, historical, ethnographic, and survey material, as well as its view of strikes as the strategic interaction between organized interests. It focuses as much on employers' and state actions as on workers' actions. The book's aim is not merely descriptive, nor does it seek simply to test the explanatory power of existing strike theories. Rather, its goal is more ambitious: to disentangle the causal structure in the historical interaction among the social processes in the economic, institutional, and political arenas.
 

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Contents

1 The puzzle box
1
2 Labormarket conditions and bargaining power
30
3 When do workers strike? How the economy matters
56
4 Organizational resources and collective action
96
5 The structure of collective bargaining
143
6 Class power politics and conflict
190
the 1969 autunno caldo
257
reactions by the state and employers to strike waves
301
9 The picture in the puzzle
343
the data
379
Notes
395
Bibliography
449
Index
485
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