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已有 104 次阅读2011-01-04 01:14

<Manufacturing Consent> is a very important representative book in industrial society field. The sociologist Michael Burawoy is trying to use a participant observation method to represent a theoretical frame which is in capitalist labor process. In my paper, it’s try to describe the realism and method used by my select chapter of this book.

Part 1, Chapter 1 & 2:

The industrial society is as current modern society, human’s life is an unprecedented involved into an industrialization life-style. For many people, they are not only the nation-state community, but also a staff or worker from some organization like company or factory. Therefore, to inspect a political life of human being, we should not only from a macroscopic society view, but more is doing analysis for the workers situation in the production field.

Throughout the historical of manufacturing process, Marx was the first man to make a profound analysis of political life, the adaptation and power. So called a production relations, the essential content is the relationship between capitalist and workers. It also means, in the manufacturing process, who owns the means of production, so that who owns the surplus value. In terms of methodology, the point of Maxism is too simple for the world view, but whatever, his research in surplus value is undoubtedly very strong foresight.

Along the path of Marx's critique, Burawoy is has emphasize on the subjective consciousness of workers. Burawoy has continued development of the Maxism theory of surplus value, and the distinction of two concepts between production relations and productive relationship. In fact, the production relations of Marx’s were shown the being of surplus value and its activity. And then in the Burawoy’s book, the concept of “relationship of manufacturing process” was shown us, how to conceal surplus value which was produce from workers by the capitalist, and how to make the consent consciousness by workers during the manufacturing. Thus these two points of view should be breaking the force of labor relations of Marxism, and confrontation as opinion by a single dimension.

Part 3, Chapter 5 (reference Part 2):
In Burawoy’s book, “Labor Process as a Game” is the first
mechanism of production of consent. Burawoy is always considering, the reason for behavior changes of workers, it’s not only the reason of external socialization or new technology applied, and it should be thinking in the changes of labor process. Even if consent for the subjective consciousness of the workers, also from the labor process of the organization (company) of the analysis to the rules. As description for the organization mechanism and “Labor Process as a Game”, the game should not only considering as a mechanism between labor and management, it’s also like a political means, or a political behavior to conceal the surplus value, and to manufacture the consciousness of consent. First of all, those “Games”, as a “Game”, the rules of game seems as a legitimacy rules. Like a sports game, once players join into the game, they always would not doubt on rules of the game. Mostly they might complain the miscarriage of justice or complaint their competitor which was not obey the rule. This is the same for works/players, the activity for the game, is producing a consent consciousness to respect, or to comply with the rules. On Burawoy’s opinions, “Labor Process as a Game” should effect two levels at least: first is “play game” should conceal the production relations which is the original game; second is the rule is acquiescent in worker’s mind set via the game, then it would produce a consent; third is the independence of workers, workers is an individual which is not a “machine controlled element” in the “Game”, they should have some personal autonomy, and at the same time, worker as an individual of the game, they automatically exchange its self-labor into a commodities production. Therefore, to sum up all the point in the Burawoy’s text, the concept of “Game” of manufacturing process is effective to conceal the surplus value issue, and to avoid the class contradiction to a certain degree appropriate.

For my understanding, in the capitalist societies is running on a “social contract” mechanism society, and based on this rule of game, people (worker) is always going to accept the mechanism as a normalized job regular, it will change their subjectivistic consciousness.

However, the concept of a “Labor Process as a Game” is not enough to solve the complexity contradictions of relations between labor and management.

Part 3, Chapter 6 (reference Part 2):

By Burawoy’s observation at Allied, Burawoy told us adjust labor relations and keep up the activity of worker consent consciousness in the Internal Labor Market. In this chapter, Burawoy concludes two conditions of Internal Labor Market: First is to establish a structural differentiation of job position. At Allied, all position is divides into many classes criterion, according to the salary payment, jobs difficulty and opportunities and etc. For the new employee, they usually only can be assigned to a worst job position, and when after they’re working for some years of accumulation, they should be transferred to other departments or get some promotion opportunities; Second condition for Internal Labor Market is establish a system, by which employees might choose and compete for job openings. For the Burawoy’s text, at Allied, there was already established a full-fledged bidding system, which involved the posting of job openings, a system for applying for the jobs, and a system for selecting among applicants (for internal employee). Then, for seniority places employees in a stronger position, the longer an employee remains with the company, the better are his chances of obtaining an attractive job within the plant and the less are chances of finding an equivalent job in another enterprise. By these two ways of activity, the Internal Labor Market promotes mobility within one enterprise, and it also reduces mobility within between different enterprises. This mobility of each jobs position, maybe effect of diminishing conflict between workers and management. As long as the worker is locked into a single job, they have to fight with the time-study man for better rates.

Another, by Burawoy’s text wrote: this kind of mobility mitigates conflict in a hierarchical direction. It usually tends to generate more conflict in a lateral direction. Like: both among operators and between operators and auxiliary workers and operators and how this exacerbated by mobility. Moreover, in the Internal Labor Market, interest is precise. Then it draws workers into the bidding system and generates consent to his rules and the conditions they represent on a labor process that is being emptied of skill.

For the social view by my understanding, the bidding system is good for management and workers. At least, based on a subjectivistic realism view, people can have their confident for live and working. Of course, all of these are just a “trick” for capitalist to conceal the surplus value exploiting. However, by Burawoy’s opinion, a stabilized relation between labor and management in the enterprise, or to keep up the employee’s voluntary servitude are not only a mechanism and also not only a game.

Part 3, Chapter 7 (reference Part 2):

Burawoy is following up Selzinick’s idea about to establish the private government within industry and the constitution of the industrial citizen, to raise the concept of “Internal State”. The definition of term “Internal State” in Burawoy’s text is: to the set of institutions that organize, transform, or repress struggles over “relations in production” and聽聽 “relations of production” at the level of the enterprise. The “Internal State” is historical, that was being on era of liberal capitalism. So, the union is a very important platform with its own autonomy to the “Internal State”. For a social view, it’s like a global union with an autonomous subjectivistic. In enterprise, management recognized the union as a legitimate object of collective bargaining is necessary. A legitimate union organization should provide a mechanism of communication between and employees and management, in fact, is to protect a stable labor relations an important factor in the enterprise development. Based on a common interests between unions and enterprise has a corporate existence and development, in the course of the specific operation, the mechanism through collective bargaining labor relations matters to the numerous and heterogeneous management and consultation. The collective bargaining is like a form of class struggle in capitalist societies, among the autonomous union and capitalist, this presentation is antagonistic.

This kind of autonomy to union means that not all employers within the internal state is suppressed, on the contrary, the internal rules and contracts for labor and management are one of the applicable. The relative autonomy should be exits, is only cause by surplus value can be conceal. But, the relative autonomy must be limit by a capital accumulation process (in the labor process). In fact, for this specific form, the right of interests is essentially control by capitalists, so that collective bargaining is often no avail to change the nature of relations of labor and management. Mostly it eventually changes to a political means for capitalists to make the Manufacturing Consent.

Part 4, Chapter 8:

In Burawoy’s text, based on his observation at Allied and Geer, he is analyzed the subjectivistic voluntary autonomy consciousness. The capitalist labor process is essentially the same to conceal and obtain the surplus value. Burawoy use many examples which he observed at Allied and Geer, to descript this whole process in enterprise. And try to represent the intersubjectivity in individual autonomy of people (workers). One organization will be in various ways to separate the internal labor process and external environment. And about this labor process, it’s consisting of two dimensions: relations and activities. The activity of worker actually is presented in the labor process of each relation. Besides in the labor process, the production relations of economic circumstances, personal socialization was going to change people activities. This change is related to the autonomy of labor process. Burawoy give us the case of “Economic crisis in 1975s“ to descript this point. After the economic crisis in 1975s, the unemployment of social labor market is raised, the employee should be fear of losing their job, and then let itself working harder to make a high variation. But actually, the reduction of variations labor output is small, the only changes is big reduction of the rate of absenteeism and the rate of late.

By Burawoy’s observation of labor process, this phenomenon can be explain that, whether management want to control the variations labor output and quality is more harder than controls the worker behavior. It means that, for the social view, try to change the organization environment and try to know the people individual behavior in labor process that can be good to understand the whole market environment. Burawoy is always considering, organization in labor process in very important. But of course, the environment of external market and social political is also important. That is why in social science field, relations are complicated.

Conclusions

The methodology and realism of manufacturing consent is important to the social science field. After reading some chapters of the book <Manufacturing Consent>, I learned from a new perspective in contemporary social interaction Labor Relations. Burawoy is resenting us a labor relationship which is containing workers’ voluntary consent and the capitalist’s conceal. The “Internal labor market” and “Internal State” are the two of important mechanism for the Manufacturing Consent. Running on these two mechanisms, it made a voluntary consent for workers. By Burawoy’s opinion, it’s a very important transition for the labor process of capitalist changed into a monopoly stage of capitalism. The relative labor relations is not only like naked exploitation or be naked exploited, it was like a conceal trick and a concealed manufacturing consent with enforced. Cause by this change which is from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism, the objective of consent in labor process is also changing. In Burawoy’s text we know, this intersubjectivity of meaning of worker is as a subjective individual object to join into labor process but is not only just a member of the class.

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