The contested terrain of global production: collective versus private labor governance on Guatemalan banana plantations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scholars have shown how the labor governance of global production transforms over time as a result of shifts in economic governance and the often contentious interactions among capital, labor, and state actors. This article adds to this research through an analysis of banana global supply chains in Guatemala in which labor governance has been shaped by an antagonistic 125-year history of predatory global production expansion and transformation, state authoritarianism and reform, and worker resistance and engagement. The article argues that, as a result of these contested processes, two dramatically distinct forms of labor governance evolved in the same country and sector with significantly different impacts on workers. On the northern Atlantic coast, a collective labor governance model developed where workers are unionized and enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining. In contrast, on the southern Pacific coast a private labor governance model based on social audits and certifications reigns that is devoid of collective and protected representation and labor conditions remain harsh. To explore this argument, this article draws on field research, an original worker survey, trade and corporate finance data analysis, and secondary historical sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReview of International Political Economy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

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