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THE MEANINGS OF WORK

Now Out!

The Meanings of Work: Essay on the Affirmation and Negation of Work
Ricardo Antunes

The Meanings of Work aims to explore some dimensions of the changes taking place in the labour-world, as well as looking at the consequences, theoretical and empirical, entailed by these transformations, such as the relevance and pertinence of the category of labour in the contemporary world. Billions of men and women depend exclusively on their labour to survive and encounter increasingly unstable, precarious or casual workers and the unemployed. As the contingent of workers has grown, there have been a vast reduction in jobs, rights have been corroded and the gains of the past have been eroded. The Meanings of Work starts with a wider conception of work and seeks to understand this new condition of labour today. 

Biographical note
Ricardo Antunes is Professor of Sociology at University of Campinas (UNICAMP/Brazil). He was Visiting Research Fellow at Sussex University and his books and articles has been published in France, Italy, England, Swiss, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, among other countries.

Readership
It will be of interest to sociologists, economists, social workers, psychologists and for all those interested in recent changes in the global configuration of work.

Table of Contents

Foreword by István Mészáros
Preface to the English edition
Preface to the second edition
Preface to the first edition

Introduction

1. Capital’s Social-Metabolic Order and its System of Mediations
The system of first-order mediations
The emergence of the system of second-order mediations

2. Dimensions of the Structural Crisis of Capital
The crisis of Fordism and Taylorism as the phenomenal expression of the structural crisis

3. The Responses of Capital to its Structural Crisis: Productive Restructuring and its Repercussions in the Labour-Process
The limits of Taylorism/Fordism and of the social-democratic compromise
The emergence of mass worker-revolts and the crisis of the welfare-state

4. Toyotism and the New Forms of Capital-Accumulation
The fallacy of ‘total quality’ under the diminishing utility-rate of the use-value of commodities
The ‘lyophilisation’ of organisation and labour in the Toyotist factory: new forms of labour-intensification

5. From Thatcher’s Neoliberalism to Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’: the Recent British Experience
Neoliberalism, the world of work and the crisis of unionism in England
Elements of productive restructuring in Britain: ideas and practice
British strikes in the 1990s: forms of confrontation with neoliberalism and the casualisation of work
New Labour and Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’

6. The Class-that-Lives-from-Labour: the Working Class Today
Towards a broader notion of the working class
Dimensions of the diversity, heterogeneity and complexity of the working class
The sexual division of labour: transversalities between the dimensions of class and gender
Wage-earners in the service-sector, the ‘third sector’ and new forms of domestic labour
Transnationalisation of capital and the world of work

7. The World of Labour and Value-Theory: Forms of Material and Immaterial Labour
The growing interaction between labour and scientific knowledge: a critique of the thesis of ‘science as primary productive force’
The interaction between material and immaterial labour
Contemporary forms of estrangement

8. Excursus on the Centrality of Labour: the Debate between Lukács and Habermas
1. The centrality of labour in Lukács’s Ontology of Social Being
Labour and teleology
Labour as the model of social practice
Labour and freedom

2. Habermas’s critique of the ‘paradigm of labour’
The paradigm of communicative action and the sphere of intersubjectivity
The uncoupling of system and lifeworld
The colonisation of the lifeworld and Habermas’s critique of the theory of value

3. A critical sketch of Habermas’s critique
Authentic and inauthentic subjectivity

9. Elements towards an Ontology of Everyday Life

10. Working Time and Free Time: towards a Meaningful Life Inside and Outside of Work

11. Foundations of a New Social-Metabolic Order

Appendices

Appendices to the second edition
1. Ten Theses and a Hypothesis on the Present (and Future) of Work
2. Labour and Value: Critical Notes 

Appendices to the first edition
1. The Crisis of the Labour-Movement and the Centrality of Labour Today
2. The New Proletarians at the Turn of the Century
3. The Metamorphoses and Centrality of Labour Today
4. Social Struggles and Socialist Societal Design in Contemporary Brazil

References

See: http://www.brill.com/meanings-work

 

First published at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/now-out-the-meanings-of-work.-essay-on-the-affirmation-and-negation-of-work-ricardo-antunes

 

**END**

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

 

Glenn Rikowski’s paper, Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society has been published at Heathwood Press as a Monthly Guest Article for September 2012, online at:

http://www.heathwoodpress.com/monthly-guest-article-august-critical-pedagogy-and-the-constitution-of-capitalist-society-by-glenn-rikowski/

 

Heathwood Press: http://www.heathwoodpress.com 

 

Model T Ford

FORDISM AND POST-FORDISM CONFERENCE

International Conference

Fordism and Post-Fordism: Cycles and transformations in contemporary society

New University of Lisbon, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences

10th and 11th February 2012

 

The development of capitalism throughout the 20th century has accelerated the pace of transformations in the field of production, with a far-reaching impact upon several domains of social activity: from school to work, from family ties to state institutions. The existence of economical cycles tied to the development of technical, political and social paradigms has therefore captured the attention of many researchers, who have categorized historical periods according to a series of axes: the predominant forms of relation between labour and capital, the industrial sectors that push economic growth and the technological innovations with the greatest impact on the productive process.

In this context, the term “Fordism” has been put forward to frame the historical period emerging in the first half of the 20th century and characterized by the massification of both production and consumption, highly developed processes of mechanization, rationalization and standardisation embodied in assembly lines, the central role of the automobile and petrochemical industries, sophisticated techniques of regulation of work conditions and growing state intervention in economic activities.

The term “Post-Fordism”, in turn, has been used to define the ensemble of transformations occurring, since the 1970’s, in spheres such as the organization of labour, the nature of state intervention and the 

technological paradigms applied to production. Different notions have emerged, aiming to characterize such transformations. “Neofordism”, “lean production”, “Toyotism”, “Late capitalism”, “Biopolitics” or, 

more recently, “Informationalism” and “finance-dominated accumulation regime” are some of them. The term “Post-Fordism”, however, has been widely accepted in specialized literature because it leaves room for the plasticity of a multidimensional process in permanent evolution.

This conference aims at questioning the logics and dynamics of both paradigms, the historical contexts of their emergence, the shifts they represented and the conflicts they shaped. It is open to researchers looking to present papers dealing with at least one of the following subjects:

–          Technology, Science and organization of labour;

–          State, regulation and economic planning;

–          Labour struggles, social conflict and resistance;

–          Culture, leisure and consumption.

 

These papers (Max. 10 pages/20 minutes) may address specific subjects (such as the introduction of Taylorism in a factory or industrial branch, the settings of a collective bargain, a plan to stabilize wages and prices or a strike, for example) or wider problems (like the characterization and interpretation of the paradigms themselves). Papers that address more than one of these subjects or the transition between both paradigms will be particularly welcomed.

Paper proposals must be sent to coloquio.fordismo@gmail.com and should include: title, abstract (Max. 300 words), study field, institutional affiliation and e-mail address.

The deadline for proposals is October 31st 2011.

The authors of the selected proposals shall not be notified until November 15th 2011, and invited to send the texts of their papers until December 31st 2011. The final program of the conference shall be made public in January 2012.

The conference’s official languages will be Portuguese and English.

Raquel Varela, Postdoctoral Research Fellow FCT, Instituto de História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa Study Group on Labor and Social Conflicts, Av. de Berna, nº 26 -C, 1069-061 Lisboa, + 351 21 794 09 21, Portugal. Honorary Fellow IISG (Amsterdam): http://www.iisg.nl/staff/rva.php and raquel_cardeira_varela@yahoo.co.uk

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

F.W. Taylor

LEARNING OUTCOMES: THE ABSURD BECOMES LOGICAL

This is the title of a topical and important new paper by John J. Crocitti, Professor of History, San Diego Mesa College which is now available at The Flow of Ideas web site.

As Professor Crocitti notes:

“Ultimately, the drive towards SLO [Student Learning Outcomes] constitutes an effort by politicians, business people, opportunist professors and bureaucrats to deskill and control academic labor in the manner that management applied Taylorism to industrial labor during the early twentieth century”

The article can be viewed at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=contributions&sub=Learning%20Outcomes

Glenn Rikowski