For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

References for Theme: Gorz Citations

  • Gorz, André
    • Farewell to the Working Class (1982)
      (p.67) For workers, it is no longer a question of freeing themselves within work, putting themselves in control of work, or seizing power within the framework of their work. The point now is to free oneself from work by rejecting its nature, content, necessity and modalities. But to reject work is also to reject the strategy and organisational forms of the working-class movement. It is no longer a question of winning power as a worker but of winning the power no longer to function as a worker. The power at issue is not at all the same as before. The class...
    • Paths to Paradise (1982)
      (p.1) Work has not always existed in the way in which it is currently understood. It came into being at the same time as capitalists and proletarians. It means an activity carried out: for someone else; in return for a wage; according to forms and time schedules laid down by the person paying the wage; and for a purpose not chosen by the worker. A market gardener 'works'; a miner growing leeks in his back garden carries out a freely chosen activity. (p.1)
    • Paths to Paradise (1985)
      (p.35) This, then, is the fundamental aim of keeping full-time work as the norm - to maintain the relations of domination based on the work ethic.This political preservation of the ideological bases of domination has a high social cost. It leads inevitably to a dualistic division of the active population: on one side, acting as the repository of industrialism's traditional values, an elite of permanent, secure, full-time workers, attached to their work and their social status; onthe other, a mass of unemployed and precarious casual workers, without qualifications ' or status , performing menial tasks. All industrial societies are moving towards...
    • Paths to Paradise (1985)
      (p.54) there is every reason to suppose that abolition of the permanent compulsion to work, along with the development of family, community, collective and co-operative life and activity, will encourage people to seek socially determined work for the same reasons as 'housebound women', retired people, the unemployed and sons and daughters of peasants seek waged work, however, unrewarding. It provides an escape from the narrowness and stifling conformity of the domestic unit or village community, a way of meeting other people from other places with whom relationships can be freer, less familiar, than with those who see you first and foremost as...
    • Reclaiming Work, Beyond the Wage-Based Society (1999)
      (p.56) Never has the ideology of work-as-value been proclaimed,flaunted, reiterated so unashamedly and never has capital's – business's– domination of the conditions and price of labour been soundisputed. Never has the 'irreplaceable', 'indispensable' function oflabour as the source of 'social ties', 'social cohesion', 'integration',`socialization', 'personalization', 'personal identity' and meaningbeen invoked so obsessively as it has since the day it became unableany longer to fulfil any of these functions – nor any of the five structuralfunctions Marie Yahoda identified for it in her famous study ofthe unemployed of Marienthal in the early 1930s. Having becomeinsecure, flexible, intermittent, variable as regards hours and...
    • Reclaiming Work, Beyond the Wage-Based Society (1999)
      (p.58) Work now retains merely a phantom centrality: phantom in the sense of a phantom limb from which an amputee might continue to feel pain. We are a society of phantom work, spectrally surviving the extinction of that work by virtue of the obsessive, reactive invocations of those who continue to see work-based society as the only possible society and who can imagine no other future than the return ,of the past. Such people do everyone the worst service imaginable Ey persuading us that there is no possible future, sociality, life or selffulfilment outside employment; by persuading us that the choice...
    • Reclaiming Work, Beyond the Wage-Based Society (1999)
      (p.99) To change society, we have to change 'work' – and vice versa. To change it by divesting it of all its reifying constraints (hours, hierarchy, productivity), which reflect its subordination to capital and which, so far, have determined the essence of what is currently known as 'work'. To change it by reconciling it with a culture of daily life, an art of living, which it would both extend and nourish, instead of being cut off from them. To change it by the way it will be appropriated from childhood onwards, when it will be possible no longer to suffer it...
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