The article works at the crossroad among three different issues: the transformations of contemporary capitalism, the horizon of action of labour movement, the role of social research. Some of the main characteristics of the network capitalism, as the form assumed by contemporary capitalism in these last decades, are briefly summarized. It is in that context, indeed, trade unions’ action have been showing clear signs of difficulty and breathlessness, both as far as its ‘structural’and ‘associational’ power is concerned. However, it is in the same context that some experiences, in different parts of the world, significant experiences of innovation of the trade unions’ action have been emerging. These experiences, even if limited in space and time, have an important effect of renewing the patrimony of cognitive and methodological resources which the organized solidarity can draw from. In that context, in front of the expansive wave of marketization and commodification characterizing these last decades, it could be helpful to pick up and pay attention to the concept, proposed firstly by Karl Polanyi, of ‘countermovement’. At this regard, social research plays an important, even if delicate, role.
Keywords: Network capitalism, trade union, social movement, countermovement, social research