From: breezey@xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Ross James Swanston)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997 22:25:45 +0100
I have a dilemma. I would like to pursue my understanding and investigations
into the labour market and/or poverty (my two main areas of concern), from a
Foucauldian perspective. How power as a relational force, multilayered and
diffused throughout society at all levels, serves to deliberately create a
marginalised underclass. This idea is linked to the labour force since
poverty and poor people are created through a repressed and fractured labour
market, are they not? (I prefer not to use the term 'exploited'). Poverty
is manipulated, created, yet upon it is based wealth, greed, power,
privilege and government. This is what Mitchell Dean argues in his
excellent book, "The Constitution of Poverty: towards a genealogy of liberal
governemnt". It is political to keep people poor.
So these processes impact on the labour market and labour relations as much
as anywhere else. The only problem is, most of the work done in these areas
appears to have been either from a Marxist or a symbolic interactionist
Are there any other mailing lists on the net which can discuss these areas
(or other issues such as health and education for that matter), from a
Foucauldian perspective, or is this the only one?
I recently joined a discussion group on the world wide web on Labour and the
Internet. How we can use the internet to further the cause of labour and
the labour movement. However, I rather suspect that most of the discussion
will have a Marxist focus. Statements such as "employers and employees have
nothing in common". In other words, the ''class struggle is alive and well"
I would take issue with that, for as we Foucauldians know, the problem goes
deeper than that and is not 'class' but 'power', and workers and bosses
alike are affected by power. For example, Burawoy and Cockburn in
"Manufacturing Consent" show how production is boosted by workers playing a
game of 'making out'. So workers need to be aware of the power strategies
and counter-strategies that can operate on the shop floor.
Therefore both employers and employees have a great deal in common so to
suggest otherwise is plainly fallacious.
Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our
bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order.