Speaking of contradiction

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  • University of Bristol


Whereas McGovern calls for a moratorium on the ever increasing (ab)use of the word ‘contradiction’, principally because scholars of work and employment fail to connect different levels of analysis and/or demonstrate how and why contradiction(s) lead to widespread instability and upheaval, it can be demonstrated how both can be achieved through the ‘system, society, dominance’ framework. In what follows, the empirical focus is on the safety-critical work of airport ground service providers (GSPs), where key elements of the employment relationship embody contradictions that can be traced to the (sub-)system (mode of production) of a Single European Aviation Market (SEAM) that is now dominated by low fares airlines (LFAs). Instead of a moratorium, scholars of work and employment need to reconnect with society and theoretically ground their analysis in a (capitalist) system beset with contradictions between the forces and relations of production.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-730
Number of pages12
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • civil aviation, contradiction, resistance, safety, service work, society and dominance effects, system, trade unions