Donaldson, Michael, 2010, Explorations in the working class at a time of crisis, Labour & Industry, 20(3), 284-297.
The Global Financial Crisis has intensified class reformation which is very much back on the social science research agenda. The past three decades have seen great changes in the composition of the working class. The decisions by capitalists about when, where and in what technologies to invest, shape the proletariat, and workers’ combativity in turn spurs on investment in labour-displacing technologies. The growth in ‘immaterial’ and ‘affective’ production, work that creates immaterial products and emotional affect, is certain to accelerate. As well as paying attention to ‘new’ types of wage labour, class analysts are also studying the large quantities of paid labour performed outside the ‘measured’ economy, and the even vaster quantities of unpaid work undertaken in what is called ‘the gift economy’. Both are often performed within the ambit of family-households which, with family businesses, are the main drivers of a vast underground economy. The interconnections of family-households are the basis of the networks of reciprocal obligation that make up and bind communities together. These communities also concern themselves with local social infrastructure, shared resources and common facilities. Working people have developed a plethora of movements and organisations that in various ways carry on the war of position in defence of the networks and communities that sustain them.