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Migration and Demos in the Democratic Firm: An Extension of the State-Firm Analogy
Political Theory, Start page: 009059172311544
Swansea University Author: Patrick Cockburn
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DOI (Published version): 10.1177/00905917231154422
Debates around the state-firm analogy as a route to justifying workplace democracy tend towards a static view of both state and firm, and position workplace democracy as the objective. We contend, however, that states and firms are connected to one another in ways that should alter the terms of the...
|Published in:||Political Theory|
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Debates around the state-firm analogy as a route to justifying workplace democracy tend towards a static view of both state and firm, and position workplace democracy as the objective. We contend, however, that states and firms are connected to one another in ways that should alter the terms of the debate, and that the achievement of workplace democracy raises a new set of political issues about the demos in the democratic firm and ‘worker migration’ at the boundaries of the firm. Our argument thus contains two key steps: First, drawing on an empirical case study of a worker-owned firm, we enrich the state-firm analogy by developing a more dynamic view of both, focussing on the creation of workplace democracies; worker movement in and out of them; the dynamic meanings of ‘citizenship’ within them; and the status of the unemployed in a world of democratic workplaces. We then argue that in moving to a more sociological view of the state, the things we were comparing begin to show their real-world connections to one another. By going beyond the idealised view of states that has distorted the state-firm analogy debates, we arrive at a more robust view of how widespread workplace democracy might reconfigure basic political relationships in society.
state-firm analogy, workplace democracy, employee ownership, citizenship, migration, borders
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences