Skip to main content

Cardiff Business School academic recognised for outstanding international paper

1 May 2024

Dr Jonathan Preminger has received a prestigious award from the Labour and Employment Relations Association (LERA) for his research into the tensions and coexistence between neoliberalism and ethnonationalism in industrial relations.

Dr Preminger and his co-author, Dr Assaf Bondy from Bristol University, won the James G. Scoville Award for Best International Paper for their paper titled, ‘Conflicting imperatives? Ethnonationalism and neoliberalism in industrial relations.’

This award is given to the international and comparative employment issues paper designated by referees as the ‘most outstanding.’

The award was established in conjunction with the Centre for Human Resources and Labour Studies at the University of Minnesota to honour retiring professor and long-time member of the LERA, James G. Scoville.

The LERA Committee Chair, Ian Greer, said: “We were really impressed by the theoretical contribution – the tensions and coexistence between neoliberalism and ethnonationalism is very important and rather challenging to think clearly about. The context of Israel/Palestine is also very important, something that the members of the committee are all thinking about at the moment.”

The paper talks about a common tension in countries with liberal market economies where there's a conflict between wanting to bring in migrant workers for cheap labour and wanting to keep out people who aren't seen as part of the country's ‘community.’ When a country defines its community on the basis of ethnicity, this conflict gets even stronger.

The authors suggest that understanding this tension can explain the decisions and actions of various organisations and people, including state-related bodies, and that it is a useful framework for analysing the employment of noncitizens.

To illustrate this, they look at the case of Palestinian workers going to Israel to work in construction. Israel is a strong ethnonationalist political community, but a very large proportion of the labour power in the construction sector is supplied by Palestinians from the occupied territories. So, these workers are seen as outsiders and even enemies. Despite this, their work is crucial.

The authors analyse how this tension between wanting to exclude certain groups while relying on their labour helps explain the actions of state bodies, employer organisations, trade unions, and policies controlling Palestinian movement into and inside Israel.

“We refer to the tension between the exclusionary imperative of ethnonationalism and the inclusionary imperative of neoliberalism, and we are delighted that this theoretical framing received the recognition of scholars in our field. We believe it will prove useful for researchers investigating other noncitizen workers, and we hope it will increase understanding of the contradictions we are seeing in Israel/Palestine during these very difficult times.”
Dr Jonathan Preminger Senior Lecturer in Management, Employment and Organisation

Share this story