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Still Waiting, Still Moving: On Labour, Logistics and Maritime Industries

Abstract: This essay considers how periods, often prolonged, of stasis underscore the passage of people and things in the maritime industries. Examining the role of logistics as a biopolitical technology central to managing the movement of labour and commodities, this essay examines those subjects, times and spaces in the maritime industries that refuse capture and stasis. By stressing the role of logistics within post-Fordist labour regimes of flexibility and transnational relation, the essay argues that this managerial science is strangely out of time, signalling the future-present of labour conditions and state sovereignty. Particular attention is paid to the use of ‘flags of convenience’ in shipping registration and their marking of vessels as sites of extra-juridical governance where cargo, software and labour power move in and out of the logic of territoriality. Broadly speaking, the essay investigates how logistic methods of governance, measure and management come to bear upon contemporary forms of labour and mobility.

Brett Neilson and Ned Rossiter, ‘Still Waiting, Still Moving: On Labour, Logistics and Maritime Industries‘, in David Bissell and Gillian Fuller (eds) Stillness in a Mobile World, London and New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2010.

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