The Institute Fellows Fellows Peter Waterman

Peter Waterman

Independent researcher/publicist

Peter Waterman was born in London (Great Britain) in 1936. He qualified as a journalist in 1955 and worked as such in Prague 1955-1958 for the International Union of Students (IUS) and in London 1960-1961. He studied and specialised on labour history at Ruskin College (Social and Economic Studies) and Oxford University (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) 1961-1965.

From 1965 to 1969 he worked for the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in Prague as a labour education officer for and in English-speaking Africa, ran a national trade union course in Nigeria in 1968 for the Nigerian Trade Union Congress (NTUC), used the opportunity to do research in Nigeria and to return to England, where he took a Master's degree in West African Studies at the University of Birmingham.

He was a lecturer on world contemporary history at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Nigeria), 1970-1972. In 1972 Waterman became a researcher and senior lecturer at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague (The Netherlands) on unions, social movements and internationalism, first in Labour Studies Programmes, then until 1998 in the Politics of Alternative Development Strategies Programme. His Ph.D. (Non-Western Studies, Nijmegen 1983) was on the political and theoretical significance of portworker and dockworker relations in Lagos (Nigeria) until the 1970s. He did studies on union and labour rights strategies by Spanish dockworkers in European context in the 1980s and has also worked in and on labour, national and international social movements in India, South Africa and Latin America.

Waterman has written academic papers, books and articles, and been published in several languages. He was founder, editor and publisher of the Newsletter of International Labour Studies 1978-1990, publication of which was one activity of the International Labour Education, Research and Information (ILERI) Foundation. Since 1985 he has been researching new internationalisms like the renewal of labour movement in relation to new global communication methods, networks and a global economy. In the 1990s Waterman was involved in a number of experimental websites, to be found by searching the web for Global Solidarity Dialogue (GSD, GloSoDia) and relating to new global social and solidarity movements seeking alternatives to capitalist and neo-liberal globalization. He became a scholar-activist and contributed to the activities of the progressive research and educational centre International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE) in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and, since opting for early retirement in 1998, he increased his academic and political involvement in activities for the World Social Forum (WSF) and the global justice and solidarity movement more generally.


Selected, recent, publication:

    Books, Edited Collections
  • Waterman, Peter and Ronaldo Munck (eds). 2000. Labour Worldwide in the Era of Globalization: Alternatives for Trade Unionism in the New World Order. Seoul (in Korean).
  • Waterman, Peter (ed). 2001. ‘Labour Rights in the Global Economy’, Working USA (Guest-Edited Special Issue), Vol. 5, No. 1, Summer. Pp. 9-86.
  • Waterman, Peter and Jane Wills (eds). 2001. ‘Space, Place and the New Labour Internationalisms’, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 305-592.
  • Waterman, Peter. Globalisation, Social Movements and the New Internationalisms. London/Washington: Continuum. 320 pp. (Paperback Edition, New Preface).
  • Waterman, Peter and Jane Wills (eds). Place, Space and the New Labour Internationalisms. Oxford: Blackwell. 300 pp.
  • (co-editor) World Social Forum: Challenging Empires (New Delhi, 2004).