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Trade unionism, collective resistance, and political commitment

A number of studies have already explored the evolution of collective actions under different angles, including the unionization of women, union initiatives in small and medium-sized companies and, more broadly, the renewal of trade-union strategies and practices over the last three decades. Part of the new research will focus on the development of collective actions in professional universes where trade-unions struggle to take root (for example in shopping centers) while other research will concentrate on how equality, health, gender diversity, and social diversity have become key issues for trade unions.

We will also describe the emergence of new ranges of actions, as well as the interactions between various social groups within social movements (union activists, workers, experts, academics, etc.) Issues of occupational health may encourage the creation of new institutions (observatories, non-governmental organizations), whose effect on the range of trade-union actions still remains to be clarified. Moreover, the development of private and public expertise on work conditions – in order to acquire a supposedly deeper legal knowledge and a better appreciation of the issues, for example on the conditions of a restructuring plan – competes with the expertise traditionally favored by unions. These new relations between experts and trade unionists lead to questioning the import of rules and norms from other fields in the trade-union universe. In a monographic perspective, it leads us to question the effects of these processes on relations between trade unions and political forces. Further research will focus on the values and social representations developed by the various trade union organizations and will question in a broader perspective the evolution of the trade union landscape. In particular, we will aim at describing the current importance of the original schools of thoughts, as well as their evolution.