Challenging Global Capitalism Labor Migration, Radical Struggle, and Urban Change in Detroit and Turin

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-05-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Beginning in the 1950s, and with growing momentum throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Detroit and Turin were both sites of significant political and social upheaval. This comparative and transnational study examines the political and theoretical developments that emerged in these two "motor cities" among activist workers and political militants during these decades. Workers and activists in both locations formed a common understandings of the realities of capitalism and developed similar critiques and strategies of opposition. Interaction between individuals and groups in Detroit and Turin - through personal correspondence, the exchange and translation of publications, and personal visits - furthered this common understanding. At the same time, the protesters merged, often unconsciously, the local, national, and transnational dimension of their movements. Their political activism blended agitation in the factory and in the neighborhoods; it involved opposition to car manufacturers as well as labor unions; and it comprised ordinary people who had never been involved before in industrial disputes as well as veterans of working-class militancy. It was also characterized by the interplay of race, ethnicity, and regional provenience as well as class, and as this analysis shows, differences between Detroit and Turin with respect to social identity points towards new insights into the unrest during this period.

Author Biography

Nico Pizzolato is Research Fellow in the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London, UK. Since 2003 he has been researching and writing on the interplay between racial representations, political identity, and social protest in American history and has published articles in journals such as the International Review of Social History, Labor History, Quaderni Storici, and Contemporary European History.

Table of Contents

1. The Making and Unmaking of Fordism 
2. The "American Model" in Turin 
3. The Cities of Discontent 
4. A Global Struggle in a Local Context 
Conclusions: Two Different Paths

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