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COMM 317 Lecture Notes - Monthly Review, Scientific Management, Utilitarianism

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COMM 317

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SOCY 122: Readings Week 16 Tutorial Presentation
The Employer-Labour Process-Employee Relationship (pp. 84-93)
4 major elements comprise the workplace
o Fixed capital
o Place of work
o Materials
o Live workers
“negotiation” or “bargaining” over the work process
Employee inputs
o Specific resources of skill, knowledge, and physical ability
o Motives, interests, goals, ambitions
Employer inputs
o Capital and resources
o Money
o Security, status, record of employment
Giddens Theory of Structuration
“allocative resources”
o Stem from and determine control over material products or other aspects of
the material world
“authoritative resources”
o Stem from and guide the various ways human agents co-ordinate their
o Usually flow from control of specific allocative resources
Production, Time-Work Discipline, and Technologies of Power (pp. 93-102)
“putting-out system”
o Peasant families take raw materials from merchants and “put out” a product
that merchants purchase and sell for profit in the market
Table system
o People work in teams at different tables
o One supervisor may supervise all tables
o Each person performs specific task
o Working opposite another team induces competition
o Knowing that one is being watched ensures discipline
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Table system allows six critical outcomes
o 1) Task simplification necessitates analysis of the entire production process,
creating insights for ways to improve technique and efficiency
o 2) Unskilled workers can master and perform these simple tasks quickly
o 3) As tasks simplify, economic benefits for the employer increase, as skilled
adult male workers can be replaced by unskilled, less expensive female and
child workers
o 4) Through repeated execution of the same task a worker’s dexterity
improves which speeds production
o 5) Fragmentation facilitates the eventual mechanization of tasks that involve
simple, repetitive movements
o 6) Speeds the movement from cottage industry to workshop production,
where numerous workers, under the same roof, work to “the beat of
mechanically measurable time”
6 important points to note about Foucault’s discussion of docile bodies and
disciplinary society
o Table system and the “disciplinary system” are not written down, until
“handbook for managers” by Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1911
o Docile bodies, disciplinary society, and the mechanisms of power can all have
micro and macro integrated into them, Supervision, coercion and disciplining
extends beyond the immediate, micro level and into the macro domain in two
Creation of docile bodies is not confined to the workplace
Disciplinary practices in each of these institutions ultimately
constitute what Foucault terms “the disciplinary society”
o Relational nature of the particular practices he is describing, power and
capacities of the body are divided
o Analysis of docile bodies and disciplinary society is an articulation of the
principles of production and control, performance and self-discipline become
central features of modern society
o Docile bodies and self-discipline stem from constant coercion, supervising
the process of the activity rather than its result
o Docile body is also consistent with Bourdieu’s conception of habitus
Frederick Winslow Taylor and Scientific Management (pp. 102-108)
1) Belief in the fundamental principles of Utilitarian philosophy
o Each person meets his own needs to the best of his ability, “maximizing
2) Belief that all people resist change and innovation until they are convinced that
the changes will maximize their utility
3) Workers do not expend their energy more than necessary
Systematic soldiering
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