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The transnational turn in the humanities and social sciences has had slender impact on the study of trade unionism in Britain. In industrial relations and labor history, the fields where most research into trade unions has been conducted, approaches have remained insular. This article reaffirms that national unions are building blocks in a global movement. Despite manifest failings, past and present, that movement remains potentially important in counteracting neoliberal globalisation. This paper examines the transnational paradigm adumbrated by labor historians and its relative lack of resonance among British academics. It demonstrates that there is an existing corpus of literature developed by specialists outside established fields. This work incompletely reflects recent theorizing about transnational historiography. Nonetheless, it provides a basis for developing studies of global trade unionism which use a plurality of approaches – rather than one-route recipes.

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Journal Article

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