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Chapter 1

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University of Guelph
Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2040

Edgell chapter 1- the transformation of work - The current conception of work is a modern social construction, the product of specific historical conditions that are typically denoted by the term “industrial capitalism” o Industrial= work is a productive activity involving machines powered by inanimate energy sources that is undertaken outside the home in a dedicated building that one has to travel to each work day o Capitalism= work involves monetary payment, typically agreed in advance in relation to time and/or output, and is part of a market system in which productive property is privately owned with a view to making a profit and that everything has a price, including labour. - The term „modern society‟ refers to industrial society and although the process of modernization may start with industrialization, it is one that covers all aspects of social change, not just economic change Work in pre- industrial societies - Hunting and gathering societies: o Earliest known human societies were based on hunting and gathering and lasted longer than any other type of society  Can be estimated to be at least 40,000 years ago to around 10,000 years ago o Nomadic and small- scale societies, had limited technology; used stones for tools and weapons, typically did not produce a regular economic surplus or lead to marked inequalities o Everyone participated in productive work; men, women, elders, children, and even political and religious leaders (on a part- time basis) o Males: hunting and fishing, females: gathering and food preparation o Because the development and survival of the group was most important, co-operative vs. competitive behavior was evident - Horticultural societies: o Semi nomadic, and later settled down, based on cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals  About 10,000 years ago o Used metals instead of stone for tools and weapons  led to the creation of a more reliable economic surplus  increase in size of population  differentiation of economic activities o Characterized by using a digging stick and hoe for gardening work, and for an increase in socio- economic specialization (workers and warriors), and a corresponding growth of inequality associated with the beginnings of a stratification system dominated by male warriors o The increase in trade and the conquest of people were made possible by technical innovations (such as metal working), but were found to be a viable economic alternative to the „conquest of nature‟ o In some horticultural societies, with a stable economic surplus by the majority (which often included slaves), it allowed a minority to form an hereditary aristocracy of males who specialized in politics, religion and warfare - Agrarian societies: o 5,000 years ago, involved a widespread use of the plough and harnessing of animal power for agriculture and transport o Production increased because of the extra help of animal power, population grew, social classes expanded  Dominant groups specializing in a range of economic activities including the production, transportation and distribution of everything from foods, spices, to tools and weapons  Economic growth  greater diversity of occupations  urban centers, where money became the preferred medium of exchange, which in turn further stimulated trade and  production and community specialization o Home and work were still not separated  household still the unit of production and consumption.  Jobs were open to both men and women o Important distinction between a productive class of people who worked for a living and a non- productive, parasitical leisure class reached its fullest development  In Europe, this class prevailed during the feudal era when its members were „not only exempted, but by prescriptive custom‟ they were „debarred from all industrial occupations‟  This degree of social differentiation involved the emergence of work and leisure as separate spheres of activity for the dominant class, whereas formerly such activities were embedded in a range of other institutions, notably kinship, religion and politics o Leisure class occupations: upper class, male dominated; government, warfare and religious observances= HIGHEST SOCIAL HONOUR o Lower class, female dominated productive activities; farming and craft work, which are considered ignoble according to the standards of the leisure class o To further enhance the leisure class‟ status they participated in activities that basically wasted their money, time and resources … because they had so much of these things! (For example; sports, (especially hunting), esoteric knowledge, collecting art and antiques and generally consuming the most expensive food, drink, clothes and amusements) - Pre- industrial societies as a whole o The development of the industrial society tends to enhance rather than impede on the liberation of women, although many feats had to be won before this could really be a reality o Even in the most advanced agrarian societies, education was not universally available but restricted to the dominant classes in order to prepare its members for political, religious and military roles, rather than for economically productive ones o In pre- industrial societies labour was typically unfree to a greater or lesser extent in the form of slavery, serfdom and bonded service, and persisted with the growth of industrial capitalism in both Britain and America o For the dominant class of pre- modern society, productive work was ceremonially unclean and to be avoided at all costs o If you had a physical labour job, you did not enjoy the wealth, power, and status of non- manual work, such as owning land (and people), governing or praying o In contemporary industrial work, men discouraged themselves from doing work perceived as “woman‟s work” o During the transition from pre- industrial societies to industrial capitalism, before wage labour became the norm for the vast majority, wage work in agriculture was common but was typically irregular for the majority  In addition to seasonal wage labour, they could obtain a supply of food via the cultivation of a small parcel of land, make and sell clothes, plus hunting and gathering Work in industrial capitalist societies - „Industrial revolution‟ is invariably used to convey the significance of nature of work th - The process of capitalist industrialization started in ENGLAND towards the end of the 18 century, soon after, America, France and Germany, and subsequently the rest of the world caught on - Capitalism: refers to a profit- oriented system based on the private ownership of production, on an individual/family or corporate basis, that operates in a competitive market system in which the owners of capital employ free wage labour on a monetary basis - Industrialism and capitalism are inextricably linked without giving priority to either and, by implication, support for a theory of industrial society derived from the theories of Marx and Weber - The spatial separation of home from work initiated by the creation of specialist work sites following the introduction of inanimate energy sources to power machine technology  REPRESENTS THE FIRST MAJOR CHANGE FROMW HAT HAD BEEN THE NORM IN ALL PRE INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES, the unity of home and work - The industrial (factory work) and capitalist (labour treated as a commodity) aspects of work reinforce each other, thereby accentuating the impersonality of the new work situations and the contrast between this and family relationships - Early organizational structure: individuals, often members of the same family owned and managed one or a relatively small amount of local productive units, and the more recent form in which a large number of shareholders (individually or institutionally) own, but tend to employ others to manage a relatively large number of productive units in many countries Main features of work in industrial capitalist society - (1) Production system: o The re- organization of work was said to have started with the introduction of new sources of energy to; drive machinery, replace water or wind power, and to replace human and animal power o The key innovation was arguably the invention of the condensing steam engine to power cotton machinery in 1785  The steam engine was used for transportation, mining, revolutionized the industry which led to a massive increase in production o In factory based system of production, THE MACHINE USES YOU (Obviously in capitalist societies) o Marx’s alienation: the increasing estrangement and powerlessness of wage labour when confronted by the power of capital o Wherever industrial capitalism developed, workers org
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