Labor Disorders in Neoliberal Italy

Labor Disorders in Neoliberal Italy

Mobbing, Well-Being, and the Workplace
Noelle J. Mole
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/31/2011
Format: paper 228 pages
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-22319-7
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Winner, Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Prize
Psychological harassment at work, or “mobbing,” has become a significant public policy issue in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Mobbing has given rise to specialized counseling clinics, a new field of professional expertise, and new labor laws. For Noelle J. Molé, mobbing is a manifestation of Italy’s rapid transition from a highly protectionist to a market-oriented labor regime and a neoliberal state. She analyzes the classification of mobbing as a work-related illness, the deployment of preventive public health programs, the relation of mobbing to gendered work practices, and workers' use of the concept of mobbing to make legal and medical claims, with implications for state policy, labor contracts, and political movements. For many Italian workers, mobbing embodies the social and psychological effects of an economy and a state in transition.

Author Bio

Noelle J. Molé is a political and medical anthropologist. She teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University.


"Recommended. Labor studies collections at graduate and research levels." —Choice

"What does neoliberalism feel like? . . . Anyone interested in the social life of the precariat . . . should read Noelle Molé’s Labor Disorders. This superb ethnography astonishes on many fronts and is a unique contribution to our understanding of what it means to live and breathe under a hyper-flexibilized labor regime.

" —Council for European Studies

"Molé’s exploration of mobbing in Italy is both informative and insightful. She offers readers in the United States insight into an entirely different way of interpreting many of the detrimental workplace changes that they, too, have experienced." —American Journal of Sociology

"Molé's book is an ethnographically sound and theoretically sophisticated contribution to the understanding of how neoliberal policies are experienced and embodied in Southern Europe, and also of how such policies are conceptualized in medical and legal terms. As such, it is recommended for those interested in the anthropology of Italy, for medical and legal anthropologists, and for students of labor relations." —American Ethnologist

"An important and path-breaking work . . . provocative and nuanced, theoretically sophisticated and ethnographically rich." —David G. Horn, Ohio State University

Labor Disorders is essential research for anyone interested in what happens to worker subjectivities under the neoliberal hegemony." —Work, Employment, and Society

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Table of Contents


1. Toward Neoliberalism
2. The Politics of Precariousness
3. Existential Damages
4. Feminizing the Inflexible
5. Living It on the Skin
6. The Sex of Mobbing
7. Project Well-Being

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