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LABR ST 2C03E - Jobs and Industrialism - Sept 19.docx

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Labour Studies
Robert Storey

LABR ST 2C03E THE THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT JOBS AND INDUSTRIALISM – September 19, 2013 Max’s Labour Theory of Value 1. Human beings are active agents in the world around them 2. Human beings are a distinct species being in that the ‘mental’ actually mediates what we do 3. Human labour is the only commodity that adds value to the labour process 4. The worker sell his/her labour power 5. Surplus value is produced, extracted, and obscured Marx and the Labour Process 1. Purposeful activity, that is work itself 2. The object on which work is performed 3. The instruments of that work Work, Jobs, Division of Labour, Industrialism - Early development of Canadian steel industry - Labour process in steelmaking - Skill - Racialization and work Class - An individual’s/collective’s economic, social, and political location in society that is largely conditioned, but not determined by the individual’s/collective’s relationship to the means of production - Max Weber o Social Economic Status Gender - “Gender Is best understood as pervasive patterns of difference in advantage and disadvantage, work and reward, emotion and sexuality, image and identity between male and female, created through practical activities and representations that justify these patterns that result in the social categories of women and men. Gender may include more than these two social categories. Gender is a basic principle of social organization almost always involving unequal economic and social power in which men dominate. Gender is socially constructed and diverse, and varies historically and cross- culturally” – Joan Acker Racialization - “Racialization refers to those instances where social relations between people have been structured by the signification of human biological characteristics in such a way as to define and construct differentiated social collectivities. The characteristics vary historically, and, although they have usually been somatic features, other non-visible (alleged and real) biological features have also been signified. The concept therefore refers to a process of defining an Other (usually but not exclusively) somatically.” – Robert Miles Steel Mills Q1: What prompted this wave of mechanization in the steel industry? - Labour shortages – especially skilled workers - High demand Q2: What was the relationship between technology and skill in the steel industry? - Elimination of some skilled jobs/workers - Elimination of many unskilled jobs o pudders - Creation of new skilled and semi-skilled jobs o Melters, crane operators - Skilled workers, not “craftsmen” Q3: What was it like to work in a steel mill? - “It was a long walk in from the main road to reach the inside of a turn-of-the-century Canadian steel plant. The huge cluster of buildings usually stretched over acres of countryside on the far edge of the steel towns. Visitors’ eyes always widened as they approached the plant and moved into the shadow of the belching, blazing smokestacks. Before they had stepped inside the plan, they would pause in awe at the massive proportions of the various furnaces and stoves and at the intricacy of the machinery that clattered around these fire-breathing monsters. No matter which door
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