Critical social theory and the end of work

Granter, E 2007, Critical social theory and the end of work , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This PhD research examines the development and sociological significance of the idea that work is being eliminated through the use of automated production technology. After examining historically, culturally and theoretically contested definitions of the concept of work, it looks at the idea of the abolition of work in Utopian writing, from More to Morris. Next, the argument that Karl Marx, perhaps surprisingly, can be seen as the quintessential end of work theorist, is presented. At the centre of the project is an analysis of Herbert Marcuse's contribution to debates around the end of work. A discussion of Andre Gorz follows, with particular attention to the parallels in Marcuse and Gorz's approach. As part of the next chapter, the way ideas about the end of work have surfaced at a practical level, including the so called 'revolt against work' in 1970's North America, is addressed. This is followed by an examination of how ideas about the future of work were expressed during the 1970's and 80's. The thesis moves on to examine the notion of the end of work from a different perspective; having so-far looked at the end of work as a social phenomenon, the project will survey the arguments around the move away from work as a sociological category; this chapter engages with postmodernism and the supposed move from the 'metaphysic of labour' to the 'metaphysic of consumption'. The thesis concludes with an assessment of the status of theories of the end of work as critical theories which address changing social, cultural and economic conditions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2021 08:58
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:21

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