Industrial Sociology - Labor Process Theory

Labor Process Theory

One branch of industrial sociology is Labor process theory (LPT). In 1974, Harry Braverman wrote Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, which provided a critical analysis of scientific management. This book analyzed capitalist productive relations from a Marxist perspective. Following Marx, Braverman argued that work within capitalist organisations was exploitative and alienating, and therefore workers had to be coerced into servitude. For Braverman the pursuit of capitalist interests over time ultimately leads to deskilling and routinisation of the worker. The Taylorist work design is the ultimate embodiment of this tendency.

Braverman demonstrated several mechanisms of control in both the factory blue collar and clerical white collar labor force. His key contribution is his "deskilling" thesis. Braverman argued that capitalist owners and managers were incessantly driven to deskill the labor force to lower production costs and ensure higher productivity. Deskilled labour is cheap and above all easy to control due to the workers lack of direct engagement in the production process. In turn work becomes intellectually or emotionally unfulfilling; the lack of capitalist reliance on human skill reduces the need of employers to reward workers in anything but a minimal economic way.

Braverman's contribution to the sociology of work and industry (i.e., industrial sociology) has been important and his theories of the labor process continue to inform teaching and research. Braverman's thesis has however been contested, notably by Andrew Freidman in his work "Industry and Labour" (1977). In it, Freidman suggests that whilst the direct control of labour is beneficial for the capitalist under certain circumstances, a degree of 'responsible autonomy' can be granted to unionised or 'core' workers, in order to harness their skill under controlled conditions. Also, Richard Edwards showed in 1979 that although hierarchy in organisations has remained constant, additional forms of control (such as technical control via email monitoring, call monitoring; bureaucratic control via procedures for leave, sickness etc.) has been added to gain the interests of the capitalist class versus the workers.

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Labor Process Theory

Labour Process Theory is a late Marxist theory of the organization of work under capitalism. It critiques scientific management as authored by Frederick W Taylor in the early 1900s, and uses central concepts developed by Harry Braverman in the 1970s. Recent attempts have been made to use labor process theory to explain workers' bargaining power under contemporary global capitalism. Labor Process Theory has developed into a broader set of interventions and texts linked to critiquing new forms of management strategy of an exploitative nature.

Harry Braverman was an industrial worker for most of his life in the United States during the height of Fordist labour management and production techniques in manufacturing. In Labour and Monopoly Capital he examines his own experiences through a Marxist perspective, drawing attention to the very small processes of work that were ignored by Marxists for much of the Twentieth century. His studies coincided with the Autonomist Marxist theory in Italy which paid similar attention to the factory floor.

Labour Process Theory looks at how people work, who controls their work, what "skills" they use in work, and how they are paid for work. Braverman posits a very broad thesis: that under capitalism, management steals workers skills, reduces the pleasurable nature of work and the power workers have through controlling skill, while cutting their wages by reducing their wages to those of unskilled workers and increasing the amount of exertion required from workers. Braverman primarily pays attention to the class-in-itself or the working class as the subject of management and capitalist brutality, acknowledging his inability to attend to working class self-emancipation in this context. Others, following in Braverman's footsteps have criticised his "deskilling" thesis as not universal; and, have attended to working class resistance to the imposition of Fordism.

A key element of labour process theory is an analysis of the local systems of management and control, and an examination of how these are used to reduce the power of sections of the working class who hold work skills that aren't reproducible by unskilled labour or machine power.

Process Philosophy Since Whitehead
... of science and especially medicine seem to make liberal use of ideas in process philosophy, notably the theory of pain and healing of the late 20th century ... of thought became central to the impaired theory of mind explorations that framed postmodern cognitive science ... similar but independent cognitive apparatus, led to an obsession with the process "embodiment", that being, the emergence of these cognitions ...
Electrolysis - Industrial Uses
... Electrolysis has many other uses Electrometallurgy is the process of reduction of metals from metallic compounds to obtain the pure form of metal using electrolysis ... (Water is produced at the same time.) Anodization is an electrolytic process that makes the surface of metals resistant to corrosion ... corroded by oxygen in the water by this process ...
Fertilisation
... In animals, the process involves the fusion of an ovum with a sperm, which eventually leads to the development of an embryo ... Depending on the animal species, the process can occur within the body of the female in internal fertilisation, or outside (external fertilisation) ... The entire process of development of new individuals is called reproduction ...

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