Catalogue


The fabrication of labor [electronic resource] : Germany and Britain, 1640-1914 /
Richard Biernacki.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
description
xii, 569 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520084918 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1995.
isbn
0520084918 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7916305
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 499-551) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"In this exemplary piece of historical sociology, Biernacki demonstrates tremendous theoretical and methodological sophistication as well as the talents of a gifted social historian. He skillfully weaves together theory and history to creatively address central debates in the social sciences."--Ronald Aminzade, author ofBallots and Barricades: Class Formation and Republican Politics in France, 1830-1871 "A work of major significance in comparative-historical sociology, the sociology of culture, labor history, sociological theory, and the history of economic thought. It is in a class by itself."--Sonya O. Rose, author ofLimited Livelihoods: Gender and Class in Nineteenth-Century England "A major intellectual event in cultural sociology and labor history. Biernacki's theoretical and methodological sophistication, his lucid style, and his wonderfully detailed empirical research make this book very special."--William Sewell, Jr., author ofWork and Revolution in France
Flap Copy
"In this exemplary piece of historical sociology, Biernacki demonstrates tremendous theoretical and methodological sophistication as well as the talents of a gifted social historian. He skillfully weaves together theory and history to creatively address central debates in the social sciences."--Ronald Aminzade, author of Ballots and Barricades: Class Formation and Republican Politics in France, 1830-1871 "A work of major significance in comparative-historical sociology, the sociology of culture, labor history, sociological theory, and the history of economic thought. It is in a class by itself."--Sonya O. Rose, author of Limited Livelihoods: Gender and Class in Nineteenth-Century England "A major intellectual event in cultural sociology and labor history. Biernacki's theoretical and methodological sophistication, his lucid style, and his wonderfully detailed empirical research make this book very special."--William Sewell, Jr., author of Work and Revolution in France
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-10:
Biernacki's highly recommended book combines provocative conceptualization with extensive primary research. Using the world industry as his focus, Biernacki argues that despite similar utilitarian demands for the commodification of labor, German and British cultural configurations of that commodification within factories--from the types of payment to discipline and building plans--formed polar opposites. British employers saw labor embodied in products exchanged in the market, with workers akin to independent producers. German employers believed that they were purchasing "labor power" that had to be carefully managed. In their confrontation with employers workers adopted the respective national models (the transfer of materialized labor or the disposition over the expenditure of labor), as did British and German economists in devising their abstract theories. Biernacki attributes these differences to the national patterns of capitalist development and acculturation. In Britain a free market in commodities preceded the removal of restraints upon labor, which was then viewed as a product to be exchanged. In Germany, the idea of labor power arose from the coincidence of formally free markets in manufacturing goods and wage labor and their overlapping with feudal labor services in agriculture. Graduate, faculty. C. T. Loader; University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1995
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Summaries
Main Description
This monumental study demonstrates the power of culture to define the meaning of labor. Drawing on massive archival evidence from Britain and Germany, as well as historical evidence from France and Italy, The Fabrication of Laborshows how the very nature of labor as a commodity differed fundamentally in different national contexts. A detailed comparative study of German and British wool textile mills reveals a basic difference in the way labor was understood, even though these industries developed in the same period, used similar machines, and competed in similar markets. These divergent definitions of the essential character of labor as a commodity influenced the entire industrial phenomenon, affecting experiences of industrial work, methods of remuneration, disciplinary techniques, forms of collective action, and even industrial architecture. Starting from a rigorous analysis of detailed archival materials, this study broadens out to analyze the contrasting developmental pathways to wage labor in Western Europe and offers a startling reinterpretation of theories of political economy put forward by Adam Smith and Karl Marx. In his brilliant cross-national study, Richard Biernacki profoundly reorients the analysis of how culture constitutes the very categories of economic life.
Long Description
This monumental study demonstrates the power of culture to define the meaning of labor. Drawing on massive archival evidence from Britain and Germany, as well as historical evidence from France and Italy,The Fabrication of Laborshows how the very nature of labor as a commodity differed fundamentally in different national contexts. A detailed comparative study of German and British wool textile mills reveals a basic difference in the way labor was understood, even though these industries developed in the same period, used similar machines, and competed in similar markets. These divergent definitions of the essential character of labor as a commodity influenced the entire industrial phenomenon, affecting experiences of industrial work, methods of remuneration, disciplinary techniques, forms of collective action, and even industrial architecture. Starting from a rigorous analysis of detailed archival materials, this study broadens out to analyze the contrasting developmental pathways to wage labor in Western Europe and offers a startling reinterpretation of theories of political economy put forward by Adam Smith and Karl Marx. In his brilliant cross-national study, Richard Biernacki profoundly reorients the analysis of how culture constitutes the very categories of economic life.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Task of Explanationp. 1
The Initial Test Casesp. 4
Culture in Labor Historyp. 16
The Ambiguity of Practice Theoryp. 21
Taxonomies of Productionp. 25
Practice and Subjective Meaningp. 31
A Look Aheadp. 36
Concepts and Practices of Laborp. 41
The Logic of the Weavers' Piece-Rate Scalesp. 43
Defining Finesp. 74
The Circulation of Laborp. 78
Traders and Capitalistsp. 84
The Strategy for Specifying Culture's Effectp. 90
The Control of Time and Spacep. 93
Time Measurementsp. 94
Time Jurisdictionp. 105
Frontiers of Disciplinep. 122
The Partitioning of Spacep. 128
Theory in the Mill Yardp. 143
The Cultural Location of Overlookersp. 145
Imagining the Overlookers' Contributionp. 147
Belabored Fictionsp. 162
Forms of Authorityp. 166
Culture's Contemporaneous Effectp. 196
The Disjoint Recognition of Markets in Britainp. 213
The Codification of a Market in Productsp. 216
The Compass of the Commodityp. 218
The Institutionalization of a Market in Laborp. 233
Adam Smith's Substancep. 236
The Transmission of Labor in the Age of the Factoryp. 244
The Insincerity of the Historical Processp. 255
The Fused and Uneven Recognition of Markets in Germanyp. 259
Corporate Regulationp. 260
The Recognition of Labor as a Commodityp. 267
Marx's Replication of Economic Theory in Germanyp. 278
The Guilds' Residual Control over the Supply of Laborp. 285
The Feudal Contributionp. 299
Three Conditions for the Cultural Outcomep. 310
A Conjunctural Model of Labor's Emergence in Words and Institutionsp. 313
Northern Italy: A Preparatory Application of the Modelp. 315
France: A Suggestive Extensionp. 321
The Hierarchy of Motivating Conditionsp. 343
The Monetization of Timep. 351
Units of Payment and Productionp. 352
The Influence of Concepts of Time on Strike Demandsp. 362
Real Abstractionsp. 382
Theories of Exploitation in the Workers' Movementsp. 386
The Place of Culture in Labor Movementsp. 387
A Puzzle in the Workers' Reception of Ideasp. 391
Economic Ideologies in the Workers' Movements of Britainp. 394
Economic Ideologies in the Workers' Movements of Germanyp. 411
The Practical Foundations for the Reception of Ideologyp. 418
Practical Analyses of Exploitationp. 425
The Labor Process as an Anchor for Culturep. 431
The Guiding Forms of Collective Actionp. 436
Scripts on Stage and on Paperp. 437
The Formulation of Strike Demandsp. 450
Overlookers' Role in Strikesp. 461
Conclusion: Under the Aegis of Culturep. 471
The Explanatory Methodp. 472
The Fetishism of Quantified Laborp. 482
Forms of Passagep. 487
Bibliographyp. 499
Indexp. 553
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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