Critical Study Of Work

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Two broad developments reshaped work at the end of the twentieth century. The first was the implosion of the Soviet Union and the worldwide triumph of market capitalism. The second was the increasing use of computer-based production technologies and management command-and-control systems. How do we make sense of these important developments?

The editors have assembled a collection of provocative, original essays on work and workplaces throughout the world that challenge the current celebration of globalization and new technologies. Building on labor process analysis, individual case studies venture beyond factory and office to examine "virtual" workplaces, computer-era cottage work, and emotional and household labor. The settings range from Indian and Irish software factories to Brazilian supermarkets, Los Angeles sweatshops, and Taiwanese department stores.

Other essays seek to make theoretical sense of increasingly de-centered production chains, fluid work relations, and uncertain employment. Individually and collectively the authors construct a new critical study of work, highlighting the connections between geography, technology, gender, race, and class. They offer an accessible and flexible approach to the study of workplace relations and production organization-and even the notion of work itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This compilation of essays, "inspired by" a 1998 conference called "Work, Difference, and Social Change: Two Decades after Braverman's Labor Supply and Monopoly Capital" that was organized by Baldoz (sociology, Univ. of Hawaii), Charles Koeber (sociology, Wichita State Univ.), and Philip Kraft (sociology, SUNY at Binghamton), takes on the reality of globalization in the workplace. The book is divided into four parts--"The Global Perspective: Continuity and Change," "Service and Service Sector Workers," "Production and Industrial Workers," and "Professional and Technical Workers"--with two or more essays in each part. Geographically wide-ranging and always interesting, the essays compare favorably with those found in other recent publications on these topics, including Arthur B. Shostak's CyberUnion (Sharpe, 1999), Paul J.J. Welfens's Globalization of the Economy, Unemployment and Innovation (Springer, 1999), and J.W. Smith's Economic Democracy (Sharpe, 2000). Like these other titles, this volume's level of discussion makes it appropriate for academic and special collections.--Ellen D. Gilbert, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566397988
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2001
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Making Sense of Work in the Twenty-First Century 3
1 Dwelling in Capitalism, Traveling Through Socialism 21
2 Do Capitalists Matter in the Capitalist Labor Process? Collective Capacities, Group Interests, and Management Prerogatives, c. 1886-1904 45
3 Gender, Race, and the Organization of Reproductive Labor 71
4 The Body as a Contested Terrain for Labor Control: Cosmetics Retailers in Department Stores and Direct Selling 83
5 Silent Rebellions in the Capitalist Paradise: A Brazil-Quebec Comparison 106
6 Flexible Despotism: The Intensification of Insecurity and Uncertainty in the Lives of Silicon Valley's High-Tech Assembly Workers 127
7 The Challenge of Organizing in a Globalized/Flexible Industry: The Case of the Apparel Industry in Lost Angeles 155
8 Transcending Taylorism and Fordism? Three Decades of Work Restructuring 179
9 Manufacturing Compromise: The Dynamics of Race and Class Among South African Shop Stewards in the 1990s 196
10 "Globalization": The Next Tactic in the Fifty Year Struggle of Labor and Capital in Software Production 215
11 Controlling Technical Workers in Alternative Work Arrangements: Rethinking the Work Contract 236
12 Net-Working for a Living: Irish Software Developers in the Global Workplace 258
About the Contributors 283
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2001

    from back cover

    This volume presents innovative, comparative case studies of work and the politics of labor around the world. Moving the field of labor process studies onto new conceptual terrain, The Critical Study of Work should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand Globalization and how it shapes and connects work experiences in offices, retail establishments, homes, and factories. Prof. Vicki Smith - UC-Davis

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