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Discourses of Labor Protest
University of Latvia and University of Glasgow.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1933-3847
2006 (English)In: Atlantic Journal of Communications, ISSN 1545-6870, E-ISSN 1545-6889, Vol. 14, no 1&2, 70-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the emergent discourses of labor protest which have accompanied the transition process from communism to the market economy. Building on the groundbreaking theoretical paradigm of V.N. Voloshinov and contemporary attempts by Marxist scholars to develop a materialist sociolinguistics, the gradual emergence of class-based labor discourses in the new market economies of Central and Eastern Europe is examined. A number of recent labor protests in ex-soviet Lithuania are examined. The complex articulation of labor identities is charted. Their legitimization, as social actors with “independent” demands, in the context of transitional Lithuanian society, is analyzed through the discourses of protest. Discourses of labor protest have emerged in contestation and tension with seemingly contradictory attempts to impose a “supraclass” ideology. The imposition of both neo-liberal ideology which seeks to exclude organized labor from an independent role in civil society, and at the same time, the cultivation of the language of social partnership, which seeks to incorporate labor in national tripartite structures, are complementary attempts to forestall the emergence of more radical class-based discourses. The emergence of dialogic discourses between labor and capital, and the forms of their social resonance, reveal much about the current limits of labor protest in the new market economies. Such discourses also reveal much about possible future forms of labor contestation, as the new market economies of Central and Eastern Europe are incorporated into the newly enlarged European Union.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2006. Vol. 14, no 1&2, 70-96 p.
Keyword [en]
discourse analysis, Marxism, labor protest, post-communism
National Category
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77471DOI: 10.1080/15456870.2006.9644770OAI: diva2:527255
Available from: 2012-05-18 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2014-10-08

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Woolfson, Charles
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