Sociology

1447 Words May 27th, 2014 6 Pages
Lecture 6: The Deskilling Thesis

H. Braverman – Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974)

• The central text in what has come to be called the labour process approach.

• Context for Braverman:

❑ Braverman associated with Monthly Review journal – founded in 1949 by Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman. An influential journal but little impact on American sociology. Best known product of this school is Baran and Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital (1966). Indeed, Braverman’s analysis of work is predicated theoretically upon Baran and Sweezy’s analysis of ‘Monopoly Capital’ [ie oligopolistic, ‘organized’ capitalism.

❑ After mid-1960s increasing interest in neo-Marxism in the US – partly result of social conflicts evident
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Furthermore, Braveman argued that the affluence that Marcuse made so much of was little more than the froth on the surface of capitalist societies and that, within the labour process of advanced capitalist societies, the same factors identified by Marx as operative in the mid-19th century remained just as central in the 1970s in the USA.

• Braverman argued that the labour process (process of production whereby labour power is applied to raw materials and machinery to produce commodities) in advanced capitalist economies is determined by capitalist social relations and is not the result of technical / organizational factors.

Braverman’s Assumptions:

• that labour creates all value;

• that social relations not technical relations determine the conditions of work.

According to Braverman, Labour Processes reflect, in their organization, the antagonistic relations inherent in capitalist societies. In particular, managers cannot rely on labour to work efficiently of its own accord and therefore managers look to maximize their control over the labour process and minimize the autonomy of workers.

• This is a straight fowardly Marxist account.

Within Braverman’s model Capital needs to dominate the labour process and weaken the ability of workers to resist. Braverman placed considerable emphasis on the role of Scientific Management (Taylorism) as a quintessential method of achieving this. In particular, Scientific Management

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