chapter  11
The state and employment relations
Continuity and change in the politics of regulation
ByMiguel Martínez Lucio, Robert MacKenzie
Pages 18

This chapter aims to assist in the task of reviving the analysis of the state in various ways. Firstly, it explores the way we formally understand the state in relation to labour and employment relations (ER), and how the state plays a range of roles and executes various functions. Secondly, the chapter locates this within a discussion of what are often labelled as the three ‘perspectives’ within labour and ER or, formerly, industrial relations: the unitarist, pluralist and radical or Marxist approaches to the subject of labour and ER. This emphasis on direct and indirect approaches, broadly speaking, allows us to appreciate that the state can vary in form and that its political objectives, viewed across such perspectives, can be achieved in different ways. The third section focuses on the emergence of an approach that is focused on a broader understanding of the state’s role. In this respect, the impact of regulation theory and regulatory space are important for the reshaping of a more nuanced approach, which addresses how the state intervenes in a range of ways. The fourth section focuses explicitly on the rethinking of state roles in an age of greater globalisation, neoliberalism and economic crisis. The aim here is to focus on the current transformations of the role of the state as its capacity and roles are challenged by economic and political developments. Throughout, the chapter focuses on the way debates have emerged with new schools of thought, allowing us to comprehend the role of the state in novel and more nuanced ways.