Kim Voss


Kim Voss is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. She studies labor, work, social movements, inequality, and comparative-historical sociology. Her recent work explores the politics of the contemporary American labor movement, and particularly the prospects for its renewal. She has published two books about U.S. labor today: Hard Work: Remaking the America Labor Movement (with Rick Fantasia, University of California Press 2004; published in French as Des Syndicats Domestiques: RĂ©pression Patronale et RĂ©sistance Syndicale Aux Etats-Unis) and Rebuilding Labor: Organizing and Organizers in the New Union Movement (co-edited with Ruth Milkman, Cornell University Press 2004), along with several articles.

In earlier work, Professor Voss studied the Knights of Labor--the largest American union organization of the nineteenth-century--to shed light on the question of why the U.S. labor movement has traditionally been so weak and politically conservative in comparison to labor movements in Western Europe. Her book on the Knights, The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century (Cornell University Press) was published in 1993. In 1996, she and five of her Berkeley colleagues wrote Inequality By Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (Princeton University Press 1996).

Recent Articles:

"New Unity for Labor?" With Ruth Milkman. Labor, Spring 2005; 2: 15 - 26. A shorter version appeared in South African Labor Bulletin, vol. 28, no. 2 (April 2004), pp. 43-47.

"The Future of American Labor: Reinventing Unions" With Rick Fantasia. Contexts 3 (Spring 2004): 35-4.

"Against the Tide: Projects and Pathways of the New Generation of Union Leaders, 1984 2001," With Marshall Ganz, Teresa Sharpe, Carl Comers and George Strauss, forthcoming 2004 in Milkman and Voss, Rebuilding Labor: Organizing and Organizers in the New Union Movement. An earlier version was published as "Why Lead Labor: Projects and Pathways in California Unions, 1984-2001," With Marshall Ganz and George Strauss, Working paper, Center for Public Leadership, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2003.

"Sombart, the Knights of Labor, and Class Formation in America," In Werner Sombart and "American Exceptionalism," edited by Mark R. Thompson. Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2004.

"Made in the USA: The TUC, the Organising Model and the Limits of Transferability." With Bob Carter, Peter Fairbrother, and Rachel Sherman. In Labor Revitalization: Global Perspectives and New Initiatives, edited by Daniel B. Cornfield and Holly J. McCammon, Research in the Sociology of Work, Volume 11. Amsterdam: JAI Press, Elsevier, 2003.

"US: State of the Unions," with Rick Fantasia, Le Monde Diplomatique, June 2003. (In French; English translation entitled "Bush Administration's Low-Intensity War Against Labour.")

"You Can't Just Do It Automatically: The Transition to Social Movement Unionism in the United States." With Rachel Sherman. In Trade Unions in Renewal: A Comparative Study, edited by Peter Fairbrother and Charlotte A.B. Yates, pp. 51-77. London: Continuum, 2003.

"Breaking the Iron Law of Oligarchy: Tactical Innovation and the Revitalization of the American Labor Movement," With Rachel Sherman. American Journal of Sociology, 106 (September 2000): 303-349.

Reprinted in The Sociology of Organizations: An Anthology of Contemporary Theory and Research, edited by Amy Wharton, Roxbury, 2007.

"Organize or Die: Labor's New Tactics and Immigrant Workers." With Rachel Sherman. In Organizing Immigrants, edited by Ruth Milkman, pp. 81-108. Cornell University Press, 2000.