A Racial Reckoning in Industrial Relations
Storytelling as Revolution from Within
Edited by Tamara L. Lee, Sheri Davis-Faulkner, Naomi R. Williams, and Maite Tapia
Industrial Relations Research Association
Traditional industrial relations theories of organizing, employment relations, and economic democracy are cloaked in the language of color-blindness, with conceptualizations of justice and class identity viewed through the lens of dominant social identity groups. This has led to theoretical distortions and incomplete notions of worker justice—consistent with systemic biases that reinforce and perpetuate discrimination.
This research volume takes a different approach. Through the counternarratives of our contributors—artists, activists, union organizers, and scholars with academic and lived expertise within the world of work—we bring forth a racial reckoning in industrial relations theory and praxis. Specifically, the collection of voices presented here embrace the traditions and tenets of critical race theory and intersectionality (CRT/I) to acknowledge and deconstruct the false realities that thrive in traditional identity-neutral approaches to understanding industrial relations systems and the greater social systems that govern the relationships between actors.
Consisting of traditional chapters, commentary pieces, dialogues between practitioners and scholar-activists, and art and graphic illustrations, this volume challenges the traditional hierarchies of knowledge production in academia. It uplifts the diversity of voices and possibilities for storytelling and issues concrete calls to action to the industrial relations academic and movement power brokers (gatekeepers). At a time of historic racial uprising, innovative labor contestations, and global crises amplified by structural oppressions, it offers a path forward with crucial implications for the future of work and worker mobilization.
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