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  • BISCOE Forrest (1)
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  • Article (1)
  • Livre (1)
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In this book, Sean Safford compares the recent history of Allentown, Pennsylvania, with that of Youngstown, Ohio. Allentown has seen a noticeable rebound over the course of the past twenty years. Facing a collapse of its steel-making firms, its economy has reinvented itself by transforming existing companies, building an entrepreneurial sector, and attracting inward investment. Youngstown was similar to Allentown in its industrial history, the composition of its labor force, and other important variables, and yet instead of adapting in the face of acute economic crisis, it fell into a mean race to the bottom. Challenging various theoretical perspectives on regional socioeconomic change, Why the Garden Club Couldn’t Save Youngstown argues that the structure of social networks among the cities’ economic, political, and civic leaders account for the divergent trajectories of post-industrial regions. It offers a probing historical explanation for the decline, fall, and unlikely rejuvenation of the Rust Belt. Emphasizing the power of social networks to shape action, determine access to and control over information and resources, define the contexts in which problems are viewed, and enable collective action in the face of externally generated crises, this book points toward present-day policy prescriptions for the ongoing plight of mature industrial regions in the U.S. and abroad (Book jacket).

in Perspectives on work Publié en 2010
BISCOE Forrest
SAFFORD Sean
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Diversity affinity groups can be defined as groups of employees within an organization who share a common identity, defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or shared extra-organizational values or interests. Such groups may be more or less formally organized, and their relationship with management may vary from being adversarial to being cooperative or even fully co-opted by management. They operate outside the jurisdiction of collective bargaining laws. In some ways, it is nothing new to find workers banding together on the basis of their shared ethnicity, gender, religion or other commonalities. In the nineteenth century, craft unions were regularly organized according to ethnic and religious affiliations, and in the twentieth century, industrial unions like the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters were organized along lines of social identity as well. But in the early 1970s, diversity affinity groups first started cropping up in large companies--the most well known being the pioneering Black Caucus at Xerox Corporation. Unlike their predecessors in the labor movement, the members of these groups are generally white collar. And, of course, they are not formally recognized--in law or in practice--as legal representatives of workers’ interests. For these reasons, some dismiss these groups as mere window dressing--a distraction from stronger forms of worker voice, or, worse, employer dominated vehicles of worker co-optation. Yet, others have come to see them as an important part of the fabric of America’s ever-evolving system of industrial relations (...).

Publié en 2004-03
SAFFORD Sean
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This paper seeks to understand how the structure of civic relationships shapes trajectories of economic change through an examination of two well-matched Rust Belt cities: Allentown, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio. Despite sharing very similar economic histories, Allentown and Youngstown have nevertheless taken dramatically different post-industrial paths since the 1970s. The paper analyses how the intersection of economic and civic social networks shapes the strategic choice and possibilities for mobilization of key organizational actors. The analysis shows that differences in the way that civic and economic relationships intersected facilitated collective action in one location and impeded it in the other. However, in contrast to much of the literature on “social capital”, the results indicate the downsides of network density, particularly in times of acute economic crisis. More important than network density is that the structure of social relationships facilitate interaction—and mobilization—across social, political and economic divisions.