Social Movement Unionism and Networked Technology

Dr Andrew Vandenberg
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From a European perspective, the wide-ranging social, economic, and political effects of networked computers have generated tensions between 'new' social movements and the 'old' labour movement. From an American perspective on social movements, there is no such tension between old and new social movements. A study of social-movement unionism in Sweden offers a interesting means of testing this emerging American perspective against the European perspective because the labour movement has long been particularly effective and networked technology has been embraced whole-heartedly throughout all aspects of the society, the economy, and the polity.

The paper introduces the contrasting European and American perspectives on social movements and presents examples of the practice of social-movement unionism among Swedish social democrats, unionists, and diverse local activists. These examples support conclusions that eschew utopian theories of 'cyberunionism' in favour of developing a theory of articulated unionism in which local unions branches articulate vertically with national and global union bodies, and articulate horizontally with social movements in other arenas of conflict.

Keywords: International labor activities, Social movements, Internationalism, Labor movement Sweden, Technology - social aspects
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Social Movement Unionism and Networked Technology

Dr Andrew Vandenberg

Senior Lecturer in Politics, Associate Head of Social and International Studies, Head of Philosophy, Politics, and International Studies, Faculty of Arts, Deakin University

Dr Andrew Vandenberg has an Australian Research Council Grant in partnership with the Australian Council of Trade Unions to research the prospects of computer-mediated communication among unionists and diverse protestors.

Ref: T05P0089