This year’s CAWLS Book Prize is awarded to Leah Vosko and the Closing the Enforcement Gap Research Group for Closing the Enforcement Gap: Improving Employment Standards Protections for People in Precarious Jobs (University of Toronto Press).
The product of a multi-year, international research project with 19 contributors, Closing the Enforcement Gap is a rich and comprehensive analysis of enforcement of employment standards in Ontario. Using quantitative and qualitative research methods and engaging critical and feminist political economy scholarship, the researchers demonstrate how the enforcement of employment standards is failing to keep pace with workplace practices, resulting in an increase in precarious employment. Understood against the backdrop of neoliberal practices, Closing the Enforcement Gap shows how improving employment standards can be an important site of struggle that will make real differences to the most exploited and vulnerable members of the working class. Though grounded in a sustained analysis of Ontario, Vosko et al. also collaborate with international scholars to compare employment standards enforcement in Quebec, Britain, Australia, and the United States. Overall, Closing the Enforcement Gaps makes an impressive contribution to the field by showing how improved enforcement of employment standards must be an important part of the strategy to support and protect workers in Ontario and around the world today.
An Honourable Mention is awarded to Simon Black for Social Reproduction and the City: Welfare Reform, Child Care, and Resistance in Neoliberal New York (University of Georgia Press). Simon Black’s Social Reproduction and the City is awarded an Honourable Mention for its innovative approach to understanding welfare reform, child care, and resistance to neoliberalism in New York City. Creatively combining feminist political economy and an urban lens to analyze welfare state restructuring and resistance, Black’s book signals an important new direction in the field that takes seriously the politics of care work and care worker organizing.