How We Struggle: A Political Anthropology of Labour

Regular price $ 26.95

by Sian Lazar

Pluto Press

1/20/2023, paperback

SKU: 9780745347516


When it comes to labor movements, unionized industrial workers on the factory floor have only ever been part of the picture. Across so many different workplaces, sectors of the economy, and geographical contexts, the question of how working people struggle in the day-to-day has no single answer.

Here Sian Lazar offers a unique anthropological perspective on labor agency that takes in examples from across the globe, from heavy industry and agriculture to the service and informal sectors. She asks: how do people strive to improve their lives and working conditions? How are they constrained and enabled in that struggle by the nature of the work they do, and by their own positionality in local histories, cultures, and networks?

How We Struggle explores worker action across the spectrum from organized trade unionism to individualized strategies of accommodation, resistance, and escape.


"Shows us anthropology at its best. Lazar explores how different capitalist strategies for organizing workers’ productivity generate problems that encourage certain solutions that in themselves create more problems, and on and on. This book is remarkably imaginative in revealing how, in large and small ways, workers of all stripes can organize to create otherwise, generate new possibilities for resistance and lead more fulfilling lives" -- lana Gershon, Ruth N. Halls professor of anthropology, Indiana University, US

"With ethnographic flair, this book beautifully incorporates a wide range of contemporary contributions to the anthropology of labor, from the workplace to the home and the community, from collective action to individualized strategies of resilience and escape. It provides a highly readable and state of the art analysis of the politics of labor, with a keen eye to gender and migration" -- Luisa Steur, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam