Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of labor movement refers to the development of workers’ organizations driven by collective mobilization. It consequently implies some degree of coexistence between two distinct processes subject to close analysis in political science: (1) interest representation and (2) social mobilization. Descriptions of labor movements that emphasize the former process usually focus on trade unions, these being associations that represent the labor force as well as organizations that play wider economic and political roles. By contrast, descriptions that emphasize the latter process concentrate on the dynamics of social movements and therefore center on the construction of a social identity, the forms assumed by collective mobilization, and its eventual institutionalization. This entry first outlines the main “classical” theories concerning the labor movement. It then shows how the labor movement has evolved amid constant tension between collective mobilization and institutional forms of labor representation. Next, it discusses how trade unions work to ...