Laboring for Justice

Researching the experiences of day laborers in Denver, Colorado, this week's review examines wage theft and nefarious labor practices that reflect broader systemic labor issues in the US.

Laboring for Justice: The Fight Against Wage Theft in an American City

Galemba, Rebecca B. Stanford, 2023
328p bibl index, 9781503613454 $95.00, 9781503635203 $32.00, 9781503635210

Laboring for Justice: The Fight against Wage Theft in an American City book cover

Laboring for Justice is a powerful anthropological exploration of systemic inequality and the entrenched structural forces surrounding day laborers in Colorado. Galemba (international studies, Univ. of Denver) places the individual experiences of workers within the larger contexts of immigration, discrimination, citizenship, labor policy, power, and politics. The findings of this deep ethnography on wage theft and other unfair labor practices highlight the industry practices and discriminatory ideologies underlying the legal and policy frameworks that create and maintain the system. Although Galemba’s focus is on day laborers, her findings can be applied to marginalized workers throughout the economy. In addition to its substantive contributions, this book is a powerful example of collaborative research methodology. Galemba intentionally grounds her work in “convivencia”: standing alongside the community of workers and advocates, acknowledging positionality and power in the research process, and engaging collaboratively on the production of knowledge. Galemba also brings her students into the research process and shares the research with the community with an eye toward social change and justice. Taken together, both the substantive and the methodological contributions of this work make it a seminal piece of research in the field.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Undergraduates through faculty and general readers.
: M. Gatta, NACE
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Economics
Choice Issue: Sep 2023

Enjoy this week’s review? Check out more reviews of related titles: