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The Faculty of Social Sciences

Keynote speakers

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Cathie jo Martin 

Boston University

Same as it ever was? The Cultural Constraint on the Nordic Working Life Model

Industrial relations systems are under pressure in the post-industrial world and scholars disagree over the future of coordinated capitalism. Both optimistic and pessimistic views miss an important fact: very different types of economies have high levels of coordination in their industrial relations systems. Thus, we must understand both why coordination develops under such diverse economic conditions, and why it persists (or is reinvented) at successive critical junctures. Cathie Jo Martin suggest that cultural conceptions of labor, coordination, skills and the state shaped the evolution of corporatist and pluralist forms of industrial relations. Applying computational text analyses to large corpora of literature in Britain, Denmark and Sweden, she demonstrate the similarities in cultural memes among coordinated countries and their differences with liberal countries dating back to 1700. Writers of fiction become involved in political struggles and their stories influence the preferences of other political actors. Most importantly, these writers act as purveyors of symbols and narratives that they inherit from past cultural works. Cultural touchstones - the cultural constraint - influences the framing of social problems, the construction of social class, and the processes of institutional renewal. This research has implications for the future of the Nordic model. Coordinated industrial relations were historically grounded in a commitment to social investment and a belief that all must contribute to the collective economy and society. Yet neoliberalism is eroding the Nordic formula for growth and social solidarity, and right-wing populism is capitalizing on the forgotten truths of the Nordic model.

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Helge Hvid

Roskilde University

Responsible autonomy and Nordic employment relations

In the Nordic countries, we have for decades had a productive tension between the ideals of responsible autonomy in working life on the one hand and the Nordic institutionalization of conflicts of interests on the other. This productive tension is however challenged in the current development of management and employment relations. Responsible autonomy develops into individualized self-management and labour relations are taken over by experts. The keynote builds on the recently published book “Work and wellbeing in the Nordic Countries – Critical Perspectives on the World’s Best Working Lives”, edited by Helge Hvid and Eivind Falkum (link).

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Bridget Anderson

University of Bristol

And about time too….: Youth, Precarity and Mobilities

In recent years the study of migration has started to give more attention to time. In this presentation, Bridget Anderson will examine the time bound category of ‘Youth’, how it is deployed in immigration policy and practice and its intersection with precarity.  The idea of precarity too is infused with temporalities – insecurity, contingency, lack of predictability, and, like ‘youth’ it begets certain kinds of relations and attitudes to the present and the future. Thus, attention to precarity facilitates an analysis that is more sensitive to the temporalities of labour markets, of life stage and of immigration and migratory processes and how all three interact. Furthermore, attention to the temporalities of contracts can help us find important connections between the labour rights of citizens and the rights of those subject to immigration controls.

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