The Social Regulation of Labor Markets

Jamie Peck

April 6, 1996
ISBN 9781572300446
Price: $49.00
320 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

This book has restricted territorial rights. To order from outside the U.S. and Canada, contact Guilford for information.
“...intelligent and intellectually rewarding...No labor market theorist, or researcher for that matter, can ignore this book.”


“This is an ambitious book, incorporating multilayered conceptualizations of local labor markets in ways that push beyond the explanations in neoclassical economic, labor segmentation, and regulation theory of their structures....a truly monumental achievement that is sure to redefine the course of current research in economic and industrial geography, as well as beyond the disciplinary boundaries.”

—Meghan Cope, Department of Geography, State University of New York at Buffalo, Journal of Regional Science

“...Intelligent and intellectually rewarding...No labor market theorist, or researcher for that matter, can ignore this book.”

—R. A. Beauregard, New School for Social Research in Choice

“Jamie Peck has written the definitive treatment of labor markets. His approach is at once quite original and provocative, integrating many threads and themes in the academic literature with a rare appreciation of the role that public policy plays (and does not play) in structuring the nature and performances of local labor markets. It is a book that all social scientists can read with profit; it is a book that will make an enormous difference to research in the field over the coming years.”

—Gordon L. Clark, University of Oxford

“Economists imagine that the process by which workers and job openings are matched is roughly analogous to the buying and selling of personal computers, shirts, or football tickets: regulated by supply and demand, mediated by price. In fact, 'the labor market' is governed by contradictory and intensely conflictual institutions and social norms. Moreover, the forms of social regulation—especially the nature and extent of labor market segmentation—vary from one locale to another. The particular histories of and conditions within these localities matter to how their labor markets operate. Furthermore, these spatial differences directly reinforce unequal power relations between workers and their employers, which in turn shape the location choices of business and the distribution of income. “Peck's great achievement is to unify these dimensions info one coherent conception. This is a tremendous intellectual accomplishment, which will have a powerful and lasting impact on all the social sciences, not only geography.”

—Bennett Harrison, Visiting Professor of Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; author of Lean and Mean, and co-author of The Deindustrialization of America

“Jamie Peck's book, Work Place, is an important, path-breaking account of labor's place in capitalist space. In a text that is theoretically sophisticated, richly detailed, incisively argued, and highly accessible, the author proceeds from dilemmas and contradictions inherent in labor power as a fictitious commodity to reveal the complex, spatially uneven nature of the socially imbedded, socially regulated nature of labor markets. Whilst synthesizing much of the best recent work in institutional economics, the regulation approach, and economic geography, Peck goes well beyond it in placing labor markets and institutions in various local, regional, national and supra-national contexts and in showing how workers and work are continually being replaced in Fordism, the crisis of Fordism, and the search for 'after' Fordism solutions. The arguments of Work Place are bound to shape the research agenda on these and many other issues. I recommend it unreservedly.”

—Bob Jessop, Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University