Accepted paper:

Spain is the problem, Europe the solution: economic models, the state, labor organization and the hope for a better future

Author:

Susana Narotzky (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The paper addresses the long re-structuring process in the heavy industry in Spain and its impact on working class identity by exploring 1) the effects of different models and policies, 2) future expectations of social wellbeing and 3) practical capabilities of organization.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will address the long re-structuring process in the heavy industry (shipbuilding, steel) in Spain and its effects on the emergence and demise of a working class identity. Focusing on the relationship between state and industry it will seek to unpack the centrality of particular models of economic development in the production of stability and instability. Historically, during the Francoist dictatorship, after a phase where nationalistic models of the economy ("import substitution") that favored full employment policies articulated with repressive political contexts and forced corporatism, followed a second phase of economic liberalization ("development") within a similarly repressive context. After the transition to democracy, competitiveness and liberalization became the model of an economy that sought integration into the EEC, within a tripartite neo-corporatist pact between capitalists, unions and the state. Promises of a European future of plenty were premised on cutting the overcapacity of the heavy industries, making redundancy and early retirement the trade-off of future competitiveness. The paper will analyze labor solidarity and mobilization by exploring 1) the effects of different models and policies, 2) future expectations of social wellbeing and 3) practical capabilities of organization.

panel PE37
Reconfiguring capitalism, reconfiguring industry, reconfiguring livelihoods