Inserting Gender into Burawoy's Theory of the Labour Process Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This paper examines gender bias in Burawoy's influential theory of the labour process and assesses the implications of this bias. Burawoy's theory states that the structure of the labour process, via its relative autonomy and key mechanisms (shopfloor games, internal labour markets and the industrial state) `manufactures consent'. This theory is criticized for ignoring gender as an important element in the operation of consent. It is argued that (a) gender is implicitly assumed in his theory in terms of a male bias, and (b) this gender bias creates a serious limitation since it does not apply to the work conditions faced predominately by women. Discussion focuses on how an analysis of gender highlights the problem of asserting a `relative autonomy' of the labour process.

publication date

  • September 1990