How we struggle. A Political Anthropology of Labour

Coming in early 2023, with Pluto Press. Here’s the publisher’s web page for the book.

When it comes to labour movements, unionised industrial workers on the factory floor have only ever been part of the picture. Across so many different workplaces, sectors of the economy and geographical contexts, the question of how working people struggle in the day-to-day has no single answer.

Here Sian Lazar offers a unique anthropological perspective on labour agency that takes in examples from across the globe, from heavy industry and agriculture, to the service and informal sectors. She asks: how do people strive to improve their lives and working conditions? How are they constrained and enabled in that struggle by the nature of the work they do, and by their own positionality in local histories, cultures and networks?

How We Struggle explores worker action across the spectrum from organised trade unionism to individualised strategies of accommodation, resistance and escape. The book marries a discussion of global political economy and Marxist feminist theories of labour with ethnographic approaches that begin from a perspective of human experience, kinship and radical heterogeneity.