Global Commodity Chains and Labor Relations


Volume Editors: and
Due to the increasing linkage of global production sites, the concept of commodity chains has become indispensable for the investigation of production at a global scale. Although work is the basis of production in every involved location, it is often being neglected as a research subject without taking interest in the workers, the work processes and the working conditions. This edited volume provides a collection of historical and contemporary commodity chain studies by placing labor at the centre of analysis. A global historical perspective demonstrates that splitting production processes to different, hierarchically connected locations are by no means new phenomena. The book is thus an important and valuable contribution to commodity chain research, but also to the fields of social-economic and global labour history.

Contributors are: András Pinkasz, Andrea Komlosy, Christin Bernhold, Ernst Langthaler, Franziska Ollendorf, Goran Musić, Jan Grumiller, Johanna Sittel, Jörg Nowak, Karin Fischer, Klemens Kaps, Miroslav Lacko, Santosh Hasnu, Stefan Schmalz, Tamás Gerőcs, Tibor T. Meszmann, and Uwe Spiekermann.

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Andrea Komlosy, Ph.D. (1984), University of Vienna, is a professor at the Department for Economic and Social History, University of Vienna, where she is one of the Global History and Global Studies program coordinators. She has published widely on work and labor, migration, borders and uneven development.

Goran Musić, Ph.D. (2016), European University Institute, is a postdoctoral associated researcher at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz. His fields of interest include global labor history, the comparative history of workers under state socialism, and the everyday history of socialist Yugoslavia.
List of Maps, Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

1 Chains of Labor
Connecting Global Labor History and the Commodity Chain Paradigm
  Andrea Komlosy and Goran Musić

Theorizing Commodity Chains, Labor Relations and Upgrading

2 Cycles of Global Expansion and Contraction
Global Commodity Chains and Labor Relations in Textiles and Garments from 17th to 21st Century
  Andrea Komlosy

3 Soy Expansions
China, the USA and Brazil in Comparison
  Ernst Langthaler

4 Who’s Upgrading? Class Differentiation and Labor Relations in Argentinian Agribusiness
  Christin Bernhold

Commodity Chains and Proto-industrialization in Early Modern Central Europe

5 Grain, Flour, Beer, and Liquor
Commodity Chains, Labor Relations and Economic Development in Habsburg Galicia, 1772–1918
  Klemens Kaps

6 Global Commodity Chains and Labor Relations in the Distribution of Central European Copper in the Eighteenth Century
  Miroslav Lacko

Commodity Chains in (Post-)Colonial Settings>/i>

7 Labor as a Bottleneck
Entangled Commodity Chains of Sugar in Hawaii and California in the Late Nineteenth Century
  Uwe Spiekermann

8 Coolie Labor, Tea Planters and Transport in Colonial India
  Santosh Hasnu

9 Analyzing Structural Change and Labor Relations in Global Commodity Chains
The Ethiopian Leather Industry
  Jan Grumiller

Production Chains in (Post-)Socialist Eastern Europe

10 Outward Processing Production and the Yugoslav Self-Managed Textile Industry in the 1980s
  Goran Musić

11 Uneven Development in the European Automotive Industry
Labor Fragmentation and Value- Added Production in the Hungarian Semi-Periphery
  Tamás Gerőcs, Tibor T. Meszmann and András Pinkasz

Trade Union Networks, ngo campaigns, Workers’ Agency

12 Transnational Solidarity Networks between Workers and Global Production Networks
  Jörg Nowak

13 Corporate Social Responsibility in the Global Cocoa Chocolate Chain
Insights from sustainability certification in Ghana’s Cocoa Communities
  Franziska Ollendorf

14 On the (Re)Production of Informal Work in Argentina’s Auto Industry
  Stefan Schmalz and Johanna Sittel


15 Global Labor and Labor Studies – Breaking the Chains
  Karin Fischer

 Index of Places, Persons, Companies and Institutions

This book is of interest to graduate, post-graduate students, and established scholars from the disciplines of history, development studies, sociology and anthropology interested in the history of capitalism, global commodity chains, uneven development and labor.
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