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Braverman, Harry (1922–1976)

Stephen Wood


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Harry Braverman, journalist, publisher, and a director of Monthly Review Press (1967–76), is best known for his book Labor and Monopoly Capital , published in 1974. This helped to continue the Marxist tradition within class theory at a time when it was being debated out of sociology by a mixture of alternative theories and empirical analysis centered on the rise of the middle class and the increasingly diamond-shaped nature of the class structure, as well as by the emerging emphasis on subjectivity in sociology. It also refueled a Marxian current that had never been very strong in work sociology, which C. Wright Mills (in the late 1940s) had famously termed “cow sociology” for its instrumental, managerial emphasis on ways of improving employee performance. The core of Labor and Monopoly Capital is a Marxist theory of the capitalist labor process. Marx had outlined how the development of the labor process was a key defining feature of capitalism. It was geared to profitable production, through generating more value from workers than is returned in the form of wages. The factory system had brought the worker and the labor process under the direct control of the capitalist and facilitated an ever more rapid accumulation of capital, through harnessing the detailed division of labor and the systematic, scientific study of work. This entailed a deskilling of both jobs and individuals. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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