Resistance to the dominant economic discourses : making sense of the economy from a working-class neighborhood
This study explores the way that working-class people contest dominant economic discourses and how they develop alternative explanations for their economic situation. Based on qualitative interviews, participant observation, and archival research in an urban working-class neighborhood of Spain, findings are that the workers do not reproduce dominant economic discourses because there is an alternative economic discourse that has gained importance in the community. This alternative discourse, with a clear Marxist base, stands for workers' rights and the welfare state, rejects cuts on the budget for social services, and blames the national elites for the current economic crisis. The dissertation analyzes the three historical processes that produced this alternative discourse, (1) the neighborhood movement for the improvement of the living conditions in the community, (2) the resistance against the Franco dictatorship, and (3) the workers' struggle to achieve labor and social rights through the organized labor movement. Findings also reveal how the members of the community are socialized into this alternative discourse and how the discourse is used in the everyday life of the community to contest dominant economic discourses. The findings demonstrate that the very pro-worker economic discourse that allows workers to contest mainstream economic discourses constitutes a major element of demobilization of the community. Finally, the paper also provides important insights on the socializing role of neighborhood organizations and workers' unions and political parties, as well as an analysis of how Spanish urban workers understand social stratification.
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