For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Power and Subjectivity at Work: From Degradation to Subjugation in Social Relations"

by Knights, David; Willmott, Hugh (1989)


The paper presents a critical exploration of the treatment of subjectivity and power in sociology through an examination of recent developments in labour process theory. This is introduced through a discussion of dualism and the study of power. It is then argued that the exposure of the neglect of subjectivity in the response to Labour and Monopoly Capital has not been matched by effort to remedy this deficiency. Originating in Marx, the intellectual history of this neglect is explored through a review of key contributions to the post-Braverman literature. Our argument draws upon the work of Foucault to suggest a more adequate appreciation of processes of subjugation in which subjectivity is fetishised in identity. This thesis is articulated and illustrated through a critique of the influential empirical studies of Burawoy and Cockburn.

Key Passage



Foucault, Subjectivity, Power, Degredation, Social Relations, Labour Process Theory, Sociology, Monopoly Capital


On Foucault, Foucault, Critical Management Studies, Organisation and Management Studies

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