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Labouring in Lilliput : labour relations and images of smallness in developing microstates

By Godfrey Baldacchino


This project opens up insights into the social processes\ud colouring labour relations in developing microstates. It purports\ud to explore how worker behaviour in very small, often island,\ud developing countries unfolds in circumstances prone also to\ud influences resulting from the condition of smallness.\ud The thesis' main intended contribution is therefore an alertness\ud to the plausibility and heuristic usefulness of a smallness\ud perspective towards a better understanding of microstate labour\ud dynamics in particular.\ud The research design adopted is reflexively critical. It confronts\ud the theories and epithets surrounding the developing microstate,\ud constructing a home grown, conceptual framework and\ud methodological regime. This sensitises research to the often\ud unacknowledged, behavioural dynamics which 'infect' labour\ud formation and labour-management relations in these territories.\ud The method of investigation comprises a resort to multiple data\ud sourcing. A literature audit is complemented by 4 case studies.\ud These involve: Transnationally comparable employment and labour\ud relations settings emergent from semi-structured interview\ud scripts; encounters with fellow microstate academics; and an\ud autobiographical ethnography.\ud The material is organised a follows: The research question is\ud first set up and the applied methodology problematised (Chapter\ud 1) . Next is a review of development theory, with the proposal of\ud an alternative explanation of microstate 'development'\ud strategies, subsequently applied to the experiences of Malta (my\ud country) and Barbados (Chapter 2). The construction of a\ud microstate labour syndrome follows, with the explanatory and\ud organising potential of a typology revolving around the\ud conditions of intimacy, totality and monopoly (Chapter 3). These\ud leitmotifs are then tested out: First, in the context of labour\ud relations in two microstate hotels (Chapter 4); secondly, with\ud respect to the behaviour and perceptions of microstate campus\ud academic staff; lastly, in relation to the self as microstate\ud academic (Chapter 5). The conclusion serves as a synthesis as\ud well as an opportunity to appraise the implications of the\ud results (Chapter 6)

Topics: HD
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4042

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