Andrea Bottalico | Etnografia e ricerca qualitativa
This paper presents a comparative analysis of the changing labour dynamics in the ports of Antwerp (Belgium) and Genoa (Italy). Starting from the hypothesis of a trend towards a common trajectory of the various port labour systems in Europe, the paper argues that we can discern some background tendencies by comparing two European ports integrated with global production networks. The empirical findings of the comparison are connected to the theoretical debate on the neoliberal trajectories of European capitalisms. The paper is structured as follows: after a short introduction, the next section presents a review of the literature on these topics. The third section defines the research strategy of this comparative study. The fourth and fifth sections provide the ethnographic contexts of the cases observed and the empirical analysis of the comparison. Finally, the conclusions summarise the key arguments on the ongoing convergence towards a common trajectory of port labour systems in Europe and discuss the findings in light of the comparative perspective.