Regulating the new urban poor: Local labour market control in an old industrial city

Helms, G. and Cumbers, A. (2006) Regulating the new urban poor: Local labour market control in an old industrial city. Space and Polity, 10(1), pp. 67-86. (doi: 10.1080/13562570600796804)

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There has been considerable debate in recent years about the new forms of labour market policy developing in advanced industrial states, and especially the emergence of neo-liberal workfare regimes in the US and the UK. Conceptually, this has been viewed as part of a new form of employment regulation, based upon compulsion and coercion within a shift towards more flexible labour markets. Whilst in the UK policy might be conceived at the national level, it is at the local scale, within particular contexts, that the new employment initiatives are played out and their impact needs to be assessed. In this paper, attention is drawn to the importance of local labour control regimes, focusing upon how labour market institutions and mechanisms of regulation are developed within particular local historical contexts. In contrast to some accounts, the importance is emphasised of inherited social institutions and practices, both within the workplace and beyond in the sphere of social reproduction, in the development of local labour market regimes. Against more top–down narratives, this leads also to highlighting the importance of local autonomy and action in the emergence of new local labour control regimes as such proposed perspectives rejoin community-based practices with more conventionally perceived work-based struggles. The arguments are illustrated through an examination of a specific set of labour market programmes established to ‘deal’ with the after-effects of deindustrialisation in the city of Glasgow and in particular the need to manage those displaced by the shift from a productivist economy to one increasingly geared towards services and consumption.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cumbers, Professor Andrew and Helms, Dr Gesa
Authors: Helms, G., and Cumbers, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Space and Polity
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1235

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