11: Experiences of Meetings and Cooperation between Academics and Unions: The Work Studies Group from the South (GETSUR)1

This chapter details attempts to set up a research unit that links university-based academics to the labour movement in the south of Chile called the Work Studies Group from the South (GETSUR). The initiative was inspired by the idea of ‘public sociology’ and by interactions with Michael Burawoy in particular, as well as the model provided by the Society, Work and Politics Institute in South Africa. The chapter explains the challenges to this in the local context, including an underdeveloped trade union tradition combined with intense hostility to activist research in universities themselves. As a result, GETSUR was forced to change institutional affiliation and register as an non-profit organization to secure its independence and sustainability.

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