The Decline of Labour Process Analysis and the Future Sociology of Work

Labour process analysis (LPA) is a well-established approach to the sociological study of work which attends to the instabilities of capitalism and, more specifically, to the volatile and contested nature of social relations at work. However, an unreflexiveneo-orthodoxy’ has emerged in recent years that is constrained by a series of dualistic and (critical) realist assumptions which inhibit the development of this distinctive sociology of work. This article contends that the potential of LPA can best be fulfilled through a renewal of critical reflection upon the foundational assumptions of LPA that can open up an acknowledgement and appreciation of the embroilment of subjectivity in the reproduction and transformation of production relations. This development is consistent with the central analytical importance ascribed to the ‘indeterminacy of labour’ in LPA but invites the adoption of a negative ontology in order to advance a less narrow conception of its meaning and significance. Studies of the new media and creative industries are engaged to indicate how a revitalized labour process analysis might embrace this ontology as a way of exploring and explaining the radical contingency of organization in contemporary social relations.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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