Neo-Liberal Labour Repression

Neo-Liberal Methods of Labour Repression: Privatised Violence and Dispossessive Litigation in Korea” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2019.1663552) is a new article for JCA by Yoonkyung Lee of the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto in Canada.

The paper is a significant contribution to the ways in which capital and state repress labour organisation in the neo-liberal era. The abstract of the paper is:

This article begins by asking what lies behind the rise of extreme methods of labour repression in Korea in the 2000s. The answer goes beyond the common neo-liberal conditions of intensified competition, insecurity and precariousness in the labour market. This study focuses on how market logic, emboldened by neo-liberal restructuring, guides the state and corporations to reconfigure methods of disempowering organised labour. The examination of Korea shows the government and employers have actively used newly emergent commercial security firms and public labour attorney offices to exercise private violence and file damage compensation lawsuits against unions and workers who resist neo-liberal employment conditions. The systematic deployment of commercial violence and dispossessive litigation to constrain workers’ mobilisation deepens our understanding of the complexity of state and corporate coercion in the neo-liberal era. The state–capital relation in these circumstances also raises questions about the authority of legal institutions under democratic governments encroached by heightened power of corporate interests.

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