A8F88C60d01 - PART 1 INTRODUCTION REVIEW OF RELATED...

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Unformatted text preview: PART 1. INTRODUCTION, REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE & RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Society is usefully considered to be in constant motion, where this motion is, like the flow of a river, full of eddies and whirlpools kicked up by small and oddly shaped protrusions in the flow, hidden by the placid surface when viewed from above and outside of the flow. No one of these forces is causal in producing all of the changes that occur over time in society, but all instantiate links between the past, present and future. What occurred yesterday informs what is possible today, what occurred last year informed what was possible over the past 52 weeks, and so on. Additionally, it is not only what has occurred in the past, but also the modes of thought that accompanied their production and what has been thought of these occurrences in any given time of social action that influences the present and future (and of course, what occurred yesterday and our actions today may affect how we know the past). Additionally, because we as individuals are capable of projecting thought into the future, we are able to use events and memories of the past and present and our desires for the future in plans to produce events, for the development and implementation of tools, etc. in order to move toward a goal. All of these – knowledge of past events, formulations that collect this knowledge into particular arrangements and use of that knowledge in planning for the realisation of particular future goals – are part of our social ecology and are influential in the creation of stable forms of knowledge about our surroundings and ourselves, particular forms of using that knowledge to take and direct action and particular ways of influencing others to accept the stable forms of knowledge and use them to direct their own action. 1 However, it is not the case that there is only one timeless set of stable knowledge, and there is no timeless and stable set of ways for using that knowledge. There is not only one set of interpretations of the past, of the present and what is thought to be worthy for our futures. There have been and are many different ways of seeing, thinking about and imagining events and possibilities that affect our lives and our thoughts. Indeed, “it matters what ideas one uses to think other ideas” (Strathern 1992, p. 10); with each different idea used to think with, unique possibilities for the present and future arise (Foucault 1972, pp. 141-142; Foucault & Deleuze 1977, p. 208). This is the case for the scientific, technical and distinctly modern knowledge and practices instantiated in society and its members’ action with, through and in terms of them (Foucault 1972, 1980b, 1981, 1983, 1988d, 1990a, 1991a, 1994a, 1994c, 1995, 1996c). This project focuses primarily on the latter, though with careful consideration of the former in its formation, and in particular on how we are ‘producing ourselves’ as members in a society increasingly characterised by forms of knowledge that are represented as quantifiable, technical, scientific and objective ways of observing, knowing, patrolling and regulating ourselves (Foucault 1972, 1993, 1994a, 1995). In effect, we adopt practices and perspectives through which we can transform thoughts into ‘truths’ and subsequent actions, and in so doing bring into focus and in fact into corporeal existence, our desires. It is through this continuous production of knowledge and means for converting knowledge into action that we, as members of a society, are continuously produced as particular subjects of that knowledge (Foucault 1988b, 1990a, 1994a, 1995, 1996a, 1996c, 1997e; Foucault, Barou & Perrot 1980; Hacking 1982, 1986a, 1986b; Haraway 2004a; Latour 1987; 2 Latour & Woolgar 1990). In modernity, this is most commonly associated with the sciences and in particular the social sciences and their distinctive methods for producing official and ‘scientific’ knowledge of the world, institutions and subjects of them, and which is then used to manufacture a world and technologies that are at once ‘natural’ and contrived – knowledge that populates the discourses of modern society and that is used to support the development of innovations and technical, strategic and programmatic systems (Foucault 1988b, 1990a, 1993, 1994a, 1994c, 1995; Gordon 1980; Haraway 2004a; Smith, D. 1990a, 1999b; Townley 1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1996, 1998). However, this official and scientific knowledge is not all that is known about the world, its institutions and its inhabitants. Members of society all have specific historical and experiential knowledge they use in order to fulfil established and emerging responsibilities and for pursuing their desires even in the face of the technologies, strategies and programs that arise in the ‘official’ knowledge of the world. However, members’ individual knowledge is frequently marginalised, obscured or even rendered apocryphal in the official discourse, leading to institutionalised norms and forms of bias that escape our casual inspection (Haraway 2004a; Smith, D. 1987b, 1990b, 1999b; Townley 1994). Regardless of its officially ‘lesser’ character, however, it is not totally expunged from existence in social life and social actors regularly find ways to exert it, however sporadically, amongst power instituted into an official discourse (Bain & Taylor 2000; Barnes 2004; Diamond & Quinby 1988; Foucault 1994b; Jermier, Knights & Nord 1994; Knights & McCabe 2000; Michael & Still 1992; Mulholland 2004; Paules 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 2003; Winiecki 2004b). The theoretical authority and potential for this marginalised knowledge has 3 been explored throughout the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century in intentionally critical research (Foucault 1988a, 1994b; Haraway 1990, 2004b, 2004c; Quinby 1991; Smith, D. 1987b, 1990a, 1999b; Townley 1994), though not without criticism, even from allies of this criticism (West, C. 2001). The outcome of this critical research is a “hyper- or pessimistic activism” (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, p. 232) aimed at a continuous problematising of the present and attempts to find ways around or through states of repression, oppression or domination that flow from institutionally stabilised or ossified structures of knowledge. Through such critical studies, possibilities have been identified that enable individuals to avoid and even alter these structures from within them (de Certeau 1985; Foucault 1988a, 1994b, 2000d, 2001; Haraway 1990; Townley 1994). That is, even within what appear to be repressive or dominating structures, individuals have at their disposal an array of options (that nonetheless vary with the conditions) for avoiding those structures to some extent. However, regardless of its potential, it remains the case that while modern subjects may be ‘freer than they think they are’ (Starkey & McKinlay 1998), we are increasingly exposed to programmatic applications of social scientific discourse in more aspects of our social lives, such that we come to adopt it as our own knowledge in place of, or at least in priority to our experiential knowledge (Rabinow 1986, 1989; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d) and in ways that guide or constrain our free decisions even without our direct knowledge (Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d). When taken to a metasociological level, this permits one to envision the concept of ‘control society’, a society made up of a heterogeneous network of programs involving knowledge and political and corporate goals (Deleuze 1995; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987; Rabinow & Rose 2003; Rose, N. 1999b). All of these applications involve us in their own 4 operation in various ways – through technologies and/or programs that train, entice us or constrain our options so we behave in particular ways (Foucault 1988d, 1990a, 1995; West, C. 2001; Wigman 1994). Among these are: (a) scientific advice on how to ‘better’ ourselves (Hacking 1986b; Rose, N. 1999c); (b) the use of surreptitiously collected details of our behaviour as ways of determining ‘risk’ and eligibility for medical insurance, financial credit, or other privileges’ of modern society (Ewald 1991; Hacking 1982, 1986a; Power 1994; Rose, N. 1999b). In short, while we have our own experiential knowledge, we are also enticed, cajoled and counselled to abandon or marginalise it in favour of the official discourse produced through social scientific methods and strategic political or corporate action. We ourselves are inculcated into a set of practices that manufacture knowledge about ourselves and that then feed it back to us in ways that shape our behaviour in terms of programs of biopolitical power. In order to highlight and distinguish these different kinds of knowledge I will adopt a convention from feminist scholars and employ a capitalised form (‘Knowledge’) in order to signify the product of official apparatuses for producing discourse and an uncapitalised spelling (‘knowledge’) to signify that which is commonly marginalised or obscured.1 As will be shown, regardless of their source, both forms coexist in sometimes nearly invisible ways, though their coexistence is, in fact, an essential component of modern neo-liberal society in which individual freedom and responsibility for one’s own self – and production of one’s own self – are attached to implicit or explicit promises for advancement and risks of failure – in modernity the subject is free, but within distinctly and economically-framed boundaries and costs. 1 This same convention is used by Dorothy Smith and Donna Haraway in various descriptions of the contrast between official ‘masculine’ Knowledge and marginalized women’s knowledge (Haraway 1990, 1991c, 1993, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1987a, 1990b, 1990d, 1996, 1999a). 5 Empirically, the present study focuses on a particular facet of society – paid labour – in particular, a region of tertiary labour that has been heavily affected by the incorporation of computer and telecommunication technologies, namely call centres. This research studies the production of subjects and subjectivity within call centres as influenced by these technologies and other facets of the modern workplace, particularly human resources practices. This frames the overall study that is described in this report. Looking forward, in the following chapter I will introduce the general region of paid labour of interest to this study – technology-mediated tertiary labour (TMTL) – and the empirical site in which TMTL is located for this project – call centres. In following chapters of this part of the report, I review related literature and the methodology used in the performance of this research. 6 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION: TECHNOLOGY-MEDIATED TERTIARY LABOUR Studies of labour are a common topic for sociological analysis. This follows from the observation that sociology emerged at least in part from questions and research over the effects of the industrialisation of Western societies commencing in the 18th century – especially in terms of the ways that organisation of labour and labouring bodies has affected the creation and development of social categories, and organisation of those categories into theories of the workings of society (Durkheim 1997; Giddens & Duneier 1999; Moore & Sinclair 1995, pp. 170-174; Weber 2001). Increasingly, in recent history labour in Western societies is characterised not in terms of primary or secondary work that involves the acquisition of raw materials or the production of finished goods but in terms of tertiary work that by definition addresses the servicing of needs and wants of individuals and organisations (Bell 1973; Frenkel et al. 1999; Zuboff 1988). This increase in the prevalence of tertiary labour jobs has occurred alongside the dramatic increase in the use of technology to mediate activities between worker and customer, between co-workers and between workers and management – particularly computer and telecommunications technology (Frenkel et al. 1999; Zuboff 1988).2 However, tertiary labour is not a very specific descriptor and it designates only insofar as it produces a nominal category different from primary and secondary labour – and in fact, as will be shown below, some forms of tertiary labour are organised, equipped, examined and 2 As will become important later in this paper, these same technologies also form part of what some have, attempting to follow Foucault (1995), referred to as an ‘electronic panopticon’ (Bain & Taylor 2000; Brigham & Corbett 1997; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; McKinlay & Starkey 1998a; Spears & Lea 1994; West, C. 2001; Zuboff 1988) – a technological practice of surveillance that facilitates objectification and subjectification and outright domination of the labouring subject. As will be shown, this analogy is not always appropriately argued. 7 managed as if they were a production-line process. As a result, a very wide range of possible jobs and careers are contained in the tertiary labour category – everything from a hotel housekeeper to a business manager can be considered in this category. (That said, others have oriented to ‘job’, ‘career’ or ‘the professions’ as a means to specify the target for studies of work that involve administrative or managerial tasks, and as a means to bound a particular type of service work (Abbott 1993; Belt 2002; Hughes 1964b; Hunt 2004; Munger 2002; Riesman 2001; Savage 1998; Sennett 1998; Townley 2001; Whyte 2002).) In order to facilitate the project, this study adopts a definition of tertiary labour as jobs that involve the more or less direct servicing of customer’s and community needs and/or wants while at the same time ensuring the regulation of process, and the collection, processing and examination of data that satisfies corporate ‘needs’ for internal regulation, control and profit. For example, Frenkel et al. (1999, pp. 3-6) include sales, ‘knowledge work’ (information technology) and the provision of financial services in their research. Others have narrowed their focus of service work to the provision of personal and corporate banking services, waitressing, food service and the like (Cobble 1991; Korczynski 2001; Munger 2002; Paules 1992; Rose, E. 2002; Sosteric 1996), while others focus on the provision of services through remote or technology-mediated channels such as the telephone call centre – a topic that has come into vogue in some quarters in the period prior to and during which this research has been conducted (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Barnes 2004; Batt 2000; Belt 2002; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Cameron 2000; Deery, Iverson & Walsh 2002; Downing 2004; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Glucksmann 2001; Grebner et al. 2003; Greenbaum 1999; Healy & Bramble 2003; Holdsworth 2003; Holman 2003; Houlihan 2002; Hunt 2004; Hyman et al. 2003; 8 Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; Knights & Odih 2000; Korczynski 2001; Lankshear et al. 2001; McCabe 2004; Norling 2001; Richardson & Marshall 1996; Ritzer & Stillman 2001; Rose, E. 2002; Russell 2002; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, S. 1998; Winiecki 2004b; Wray-Bliss 2001).3 The latter also reflects another feature of labour that is particular to the late 20th and early 21st century – the increased incorporation of computer and telecommunication technologies so as to blend tertiary labour with technologymediated labour. Of interest to students of labour is the identification by Frenkel et al. (1999) of a trend beginning in the 1980s showing an increase in tertiary labour jobs and a decrease in primary and secondary labour jobs in Australia, Japan and the United States. This is paralleled by the overwhelming influx of computer and telecommunications technologies in all types of work and the application of these technologies in ways that ‘hide in plain sight’ and transparently penetrate into the interstitial spaces of a worker’s thought and conduct to simultaneously divide, pace, order, examine and evaluate workers and inform management practices, even to the point of defining the subjects in work itself – the emergence of a particular form of work I call ‘technology-mediated tertiary labour’ (TMTL). That said, it must be acknowledged that technology has always been a component of labour and has always interested students of labour over a wide range of analytic traditions, for different purposes and with different effects (see, for example, Baker 1964; Braverman 1974; Cockburn 1983; Cross & Steimnam 1970; Donzelot 1991; Ellul 1971; Hamper 1991; Marx 1992; Musbach & Davis 1980; Smith, A. 1991 (orig. 1776); Smith, D. 1974, 1984; Woodward 1960). Primary labour requires technologies to amplify human strength in the extraction of raw 3 Fieldwork for this project commenced in May 2002 and was concluded in April 2004. 9 materials from the earth – fishing, farming, mining, etc. Secondary labour requires technologies to do the same in the moulding of raw materials into products for human consumption. Tertiary labour has historically required little or none of the sort of technology common to primary and secondary labour, though all three have required various forms of technology for recordkeeping, supervision and management (for example, see Woodward (1960; 1980), Zimmerman (1969), Zuboff (1988) and Winiecki (2004b)). More common technologies in the history of tertiary labour are telephones, paper, pens, pencils, ledger sheets, filing cabinets and more recently of course, the computer and computer software which have, to a large extent replaced or changed the nature of other technologies in tertiary labour. The effects of these changes have been of interest, in various ways, to prior researchers of service work (Baker 1964; Frenkel et al. 1999; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; Richardson & Marshall 1996; Ritzer 2000b; Rose, N. 1999c; Russell 2002, 2004; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Spears & Lea 1994; Stanton & Weiss 2000; Stuller 1999; van den Broek 2002; Wahlberg & Wredling 1999; Warhurst & Thompson 1998; West, C. 2001; Wray-Bliss 2001; Zuboff 1988), though not typically in an analysis of the production of subjectivity – the primary aim of this project. Of particular interest here is the aspect of technology-mediation in tertiary labour, for, as will be shown, the incorporation of computer and telecommunication technologies as a medium through which one delivers services affords particular management practices and ways of producing Knowledge and ‘truth’ about the workers and the work. By intentionally capitalising ‘Knowledge’, I aim to signify the difference between an organisation’s production of ‘Knowledge’ about workers and the workers’ own knowledge about themselves and the work. The former is treated 10 as ‘official’, ‘objective’ and ‘true’, while the latter is often treated as illegitimate, subjective and specious. That is, as noted above, while there are many different ways of knowing, institutional norms and forms instantiate conditions for the existence of power that effects the elevation of some Knowledge and the obscuring or rendering illegitimate of other knowledge. This Knowledge is a key component in the production and application of bio-political discourse and subjectivity to discipline and govern individuals across institutions in society (Armstrong 1994; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Brigham & Corbett 1997; Cameron 2000; Clegg 1998; Deleuze 1995; Donzelot 1991; Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c; du Gay 1996b; Ewald 1991; Ezzy 1997; Foucault 1988b, 1990a, 1994a, 1995; Hacking 1982, 1986a; Haraway 2004a; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Knights & McCabe 2003; McKinlay & Starkey 1998a; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Rabinow & Rose 2003; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Townley 1994, 1996; Wigman 1994). At the same time and essentially related to this, the same conditions also afford the strategic and tactical design of aspects of the work so as to rationalise and routinise what is otherwise the fairly uncodified practice of service delivery (Bain 2001b; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Cameron 2000; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Winiecki 2004b) – literally manufacturing a reproducible and empirically objective process that reinforces particular Knowledge, and obscures or illegitimises other possible forms of knowledge, and renders the provision of service into a production line-like process that is made amenable to management methods derived from those typically used for managing production processes (Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Cameron 2000, esp. 91-124; Knights & Odih 2000; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, S. 1998; Townley 1994). In addition, the work becomes visible through surveillance techniques activated through 11 the same technology-mediation systems through which the work itself is accomplished. This affords the ongoing production of Knowledge about workers and work, and also informs management’s tactical and strategic planning and interventions to effect productivity increases and increased compliance. Also, as will be shown, this production of Knowledge operates to create a ‘truth’ about workers, impose and increase the ‘responsibility’ of workers for adopting the organisation’s ‘truth’, a way of Knowing the work and workers, and Knowledge with which workers are expected to govern themselves in their work activities. These, and other, aspects of TMTL will be illustrated and described in more detail below in terms of the way they come to be imbricated in disciplining a particular way of doing work, in management thought and practice, in the way workers see themselves, expectations over how workers govern their own activities, and how all of these affect the production of subjectivity. While there are a wide variety of locations for studying TMTL, this project focuses on call centres, a relatively new form of service work emerging in the 1970s, initially from the centralisation of personal banking services in the UK (Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Glucksmann 2001; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Richardson & Marshall 1996; Rose, E. 2002; Simpson 1999; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999). The economic recession of that period also influenced American travel agencies and airline ticket desks to consolidate services into call centres (Call Center News Service 2000) and call centres are now utilised across a wide range of businesses, including technical support for consumer products, airline reservations, package delivery, health care, etc. McDonald’s fast food restaurant is even experimenting with a call centre where patrons can call in their order from a mobile phone while driving to the store location (Fitzgerald 2005)! 12 Call centres were chosen as a location for the empirical work of this research because they are an excellent example of TMTL – indeed, call centres would not exist at all were it not for the blending of computer and telecommunication technologies with service work. It is also the case that the city in which I am located had been a particularly dynamic growth location for call centres in the years leading up to this project. A study performed by the Metro Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council in this city estimated that as much as $9 million per week was funnelled through call centres – a spectacular figure for a city located in a rural and mostly agricultural state in the Intermountain Northwest United States (Treasure Valley Customer Care Center Industry Work-Force-Development-Team 2001). The nearly fifty call centres in this region affected the employment of up to 10,000 workers at its peak in 2003 – a similarly dramatic figure for a city of less than 200,000 residents in a state with a total population of only about 1 million persons.4 However, this region is not the only place where call centres have dramatically impacted the labour landscape. Statistical projections indicate that the number of call centre positions in the United States will reach 2.8 million by 2005 (Datamonitor 2004), up from 1.85 million in 2002 (U. S. Department of Labor 2002)5 – nearly 1.5% of the working population in the United States. For an ‘industry’ beginning less than 30 years ago (Call Center News Service 2000), call 4 Based on reports of staff redundancies in several call centres in the region, arising from the outsourcing boom that has hit American business in the early 21st century, it is estimated that these figures have dropped somewhat. However, no statistics are available to report the current economic and population effects of outsourcing in this region. It is also interesting to report that a Federal government study of economic growth has shown that the considerable growth of service work in this region has resulted in a drop in unemployment but also a drop in the mean wage of citizens in the region (Estrella 2004) – call centre work is a relatively low-paying vocation in the State in which this research was conducted, with a median wage of $9.50/hour as compared with the national average of $12.62/hour (Idaho Department of Labor 2002; U. S. Department of Labor 2002). 5 Actual U. S. Department of Labor statistics indicate employment of customer service representatives at 1,875,370 in 2001, 1,854,750 in 2002 and 1,902,850 in 2003 (2002; 2003; 2004). Fieldwork for this project began in May 2002 and was completed in April 2004. 2004 statistics for employment and wages are not available at the time of writing. 13 centres have indeed become an important form of work for an increasing number of individuals and organisations in the United States. While initial call centres utilised commonly available telephone switching equipment, specialised systems known as ‘automated call distributors’ or ‘automated call diallers’ (ACD) were developed and are now considered to be the fundamental technology underpinning the modern call centre (Taylor, P. & Bain 1999). The ACD is a computer switching system between the customer and the call centre agent (Bodin & Dawson 1999; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999). Nominally, the purpose of the ACD is to ‘watch’ all of the agents working in the call centre and to route calls to the next available agent such that the length of time a caller waits on hold is kept to a minimum, and more calls can be handled per agent per day. This also has the effect of transforming what is an irregular pattern of incoming calls into a series that can be distributed in an orderly way. This permits the organisation to produce a queue (as is also ‘designed in’ to an assembly line process) such that each employee will receive approximately the same number of calls per day. This partitioning practice is the first step in making call centre work measurable in ways that approximate what is normally done in assembly line work. Once calls are organised into a queue and agents can be expected to answer a relatively equivalent number of calls per shift, the specific work of individual workers becomes comparable in terms of particular divisions and rankings (Foucault 1995, p. 145; Townley 1994, p. 26ff) as will be shown below. This would not be possible if incoming calls were not ‘conditioned’ as described above. In addition, the ACD is programmed to automatically detect and record particular artefacts of each call centre agent’s work, either directly or by statistical operations that combine individual observations into horizontal and vertical divisions 14 in the observed population (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Townley 1994, p. 26ff). In the call centres participating in this project, an array of more than 20 different statistic-producing observations are made on each agent on a continuous basis by the ACD – for example, how long each call takes, how long an agent pauses between calls, how many minutes are spent on other work products (the preparation of database records documenting the call, arranging for the dispatch of parts to repair a defective piece of equipment, preparing written communication for other workers in the same organisation regarding a particular call, etc.), if the agent arrived to work late, left early, the time(s) breaks are taken, duration of breaks, etc. (Figure 1). This surveillance is continuous and produces detailed records of each agent’s work over the entire term of their employment. At the same time, reports generated from the ACD’s surveillance of workers affords management with an ‘objective’ trace of evidence documenting each individual worker’s activity that permits each worker to be compared against an organisationally established norm and against each other (ratings and rankings) – an imputed ‘truth’ about agents’ and their work. Figure 1 displays how this is manifested in the ‘key’ containing ‘Team Goals’ in the lower left corner, and graphic markings by management on each worker’s statistics.6 6 Agent’s names are removed. 15 Figure 1. ACD Report Showing Agent Productivity Statistics This enables both management and workers themselves to ‘see’ every individual and the whole group at once in terms of the data recorded and massed – individualising and totalising the population against organisationally specified criteria. The primary and side effects of this technological surveillance, and the ways its products are reduced to arrays of statistics are of considerable importance to the production of worker subjectivity in TMTL, as will be elaborated in Parts 2 and 3 of the report below. It is also the case that call centre work is considered to be a site that employs primarily women (Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Glucksmann 2001; Houlihan 2001; Hunt 2004; Mulholland 2002; Panteli, Stack & Ramsay 2001).7 Based on the demographics of the workforce in the four call centres participating in this project, 7 West (1990) hypothesises that ‘women’s work’ is a historical product arising from the relation of the worker to capital. In particular, women are said to have historically been placed in working relations that are relatively labour intensive but have relatively low interaction with capital-intensive equipment, while men have typically been placed into relations that are relatively higher in their interaction with capital intensive-equipment. As will be shown below, call centre work is indeed labour intensive. It is also the case that it requires a substantial amount of interaction with capitalintensive equipment. However, as will be shown below, the computer and telecommunications equipment installed in call centres has also been designed to effect a high degree of technical or managerial regulation over the labour process, resulting in what has been called ‘degradation’ of the work (Braverman 1974). The result is hypothesised to be a relative devaluation of the worker’s knowledge in manipulating equipment and subsequent depression of wages (Braverman 1974). In effect, capital-intensive work is reduced to labour-intensive work (Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Braverman 1974; Mulholland 2002; West, J. 1990). 16 women do make up a sizable proportion of the workforce; though in some cases this may be mediated by other factors that might have prior effects on affecting the worker’s selection of a job or vocation (see Appendix A, below). For example, MedAdvise is a call centre located in a regional medical centre and offers free telephone triage nursing to members of the community in which it resides. Sixteen of the 17 nurses employed in this location are female – reflecting the historical dominance of women in the nursing profession. BigTech is a technical support call centre for an international computer equipment manufacturer. The majority of call centre agents in this location are male, with women making up about 15% of the agent workforce. It is also interesting to note BigTech’s historical practice of corporate welfare – retraining workers whose jobs have been eliminated by restructuring or redundancies. Because the city in which this call centre is located was formerly the location of a light assembly factory for BigTech computer equipment, and because many of the workers in that facility were women (consistent with a trend to employ women in electronics manufacturing (West, J. 1990)), it is the case that many of the female employees in the BigTech call centre took advantage of company policy and have been retrained for technical support call centre work; many have since been promoted up to supervisory and management roles. The frequent promotion of women into supervisory and management roles in call centres is consistent with the observations of Belt about women in call centre work (Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000) – though the greater quantity of males reflects a distribution common to other technology-intensive work (Cockburn 1983). Additionally, there are more female supervisors at the BigTech call centre than there are male supervisors. In contrast, about 85% of the agents in the DeliveryWorldwide call centre are women (including more than half of the team leaders and the 17 supervisor, but not the manager). At the MHealth call centre, eight of the eleven agents employed during fieldwork are women (including the supervisor and manager). As reflected here, it is not unusual to find women in middle management, supervision and team leader positions – something that reflects the greater proportion of women in call centre work and the fact that call centres typically promote from within, at least up to the level of supervisor (Batt, Hunter & Wilk 2003; Belt 2002; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Buchanan & Koch-Schulte 2000; Houlihan 2001; Hunt 2004; Mulholland 2002; Panteli, Stack & Ramsay 2001; Taylor, S. 1998). As it does in other workplaces, a ‘glass ceiling’ exists for women in call centre work, though it perhaps goes up a bit more on the bureaucratic ladder than in other forms of work. In addition to the centralisation of service outlets, and the use of ACD technology to regularise the flow of calls to agents and ensure a relatively equal number of calls are handled by each agent per hour, call centres also routinise the work to be performed within a call by each agent such that organisations can predict or assume how long it will take an agent to handle each call – dividing the work into minutely observable, countable and average-able units. The ‘scripting’ of interaction work between customers and agents, use of standardised tools for data entry and data processing, training in the use of these tools and technologies and other ‘microphysical’ apparatuses that directly affect the minute physical and mental operations comprising the work, further disciplines the work such that employee discretion in the labour process is thought to be highly limited, even to the point of considering it to be an electronic sweatshop exemplifying worker domination (Fernie & Metcalf 1998). At the same time, ‘manufacturing’ of a regular labour process to be followed by all workers allows organisations to treat the script or routine as a 18 idealised model against which workers’ conduct is to be measured, rated and managed (Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Cameron 2000; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Fielding 2003; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Korczynski 2001; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Taylor, S. 1998; Winiecki 2004b), an effect that permits the organisation to assert a ‘truth’ about workers based on the statistical measures of their activity. The routinisation and calculable regularity of work is also used by the organisation for another purpose – if it can predict approximately how many calls will be handled during any particular time segment (based on historical data) and it can predict or regulate approximately how long each call will last (as regulated by disciplinary scripts, software, training and inculcation of particular values into agents such that they tend to police their own activity), it can then calculate about how many agents must be in on duty in the call centre and ready to answer calls within a particular time span after the call first rings at the ACD. In any given organisation, payroll and human resources consumes about 70-80% of the organisation’s operating budget. Consequently, if the number of agents can be reduced through technology (ACD, computers and telecommunications) and/or rationalisation (labour process, scripting), it can reduce the cost of doing business – an important goal in what is arguably an increasingly competitive marketplace. As the differentiation between products offered by competing organisations decreases, services offered by those organisations are increasingly considered to instantiate important means to differentiate one organisation’s products from another (Fuller & Smith 1991; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Korczynski 2001; Korczynski et al. 2000; Wallace, Eagleson & Waldersee 2000). In fact, at two of the call centres participating in this project regular polls of customers are performed to determine the extent to which 19 they are ‘satisfied by the service received’ compared with the satisfaction of customers of competitors. However, cost savings from reduced staffing must be balanced against the length of time customers are expected to wait to talk with an agent – a figure known as ‘service level’.8 Staffing may be reduced drastically to save costs, but this will dramatically increase the length of time customers must wait on hold, something that is considered to have a negative effect on customer satisfaction. Alternatively, so many agents may be employed with the goal of improving service level that some agents are always sitting idle – what organisations consider to be a waste of the resources of the organisation (that is, the on-duty workforce) that has the very undesirable effect of raising the cost of doing business. Consequently, organisations typically balance costs of staffing with hold times they think customers will tolerate (or whatever their competitors use!). A sophisticated multivariate calculation known as the ‘Erlang-C’ is used to compute how many agents are required to maintain a particular service level with an assumed call volume and an assumed call length (Bodin & Dawson 1999; Cleveland & Mayben 1997). The Erlang-C is a derivative of a computation developed in the early days of telephone systems for calculating the minimum number of lines required to provide acceptable service to a fixed number of telephone subscribers. It is a sophisticated calculus that takes into consideration factors including: (a) predicted number of calls per unit time (call volume); (b) average length of call; (c) average length of time after a call is completed, to finish data processing work related to that call; and (d) desired service level. Of these, (a) is 8 Statistically, service level is defined as the average speed with which all call centre agents respond to a call after it has been accepted by the ACD. Service level is always represented in terms of the percentage of all calls answered within a particular target time, for example, 80% of calls answered in 30 seconds, or ’80 in 30’. Service level is an expectation or goal set by the organisation. It is interesting to note that in all call centres participating in this study, organisational service level is simply declared and is not based on any empirical data – although it can be set using empirical and organisational data (Cleveland & Mayben 1997, pp. 33-39). 20 determined from historical data, (b), (c) and (d) are declared upfront as targets to be met. In effect, the organisation attempts to reduce the variation within each of the factors above by either appealing to historical norms (averages) or by simply declaring what is desirable. The Erlang C calculation, and its use in determining staffing at call centres, is consistent with ‘just in time’ production planning introduced in manufacturing industries in the late 20th century. The goal of both ‘just in time’ production and use of the Erlang C calculation in call centres is to reduce costs to complete work by reducing the amount of ‘warehoused’ raw material or personnel required to complete fluctuating demands for product or services (Cleveland & Mayben 1997; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Parker & Slaughter 1988; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992). In practice, call centre organisations attempt to maximise the amount of time agents are working calls and minimise the length of time they are waiting for calls. The percentage of time agents are actually working on calls during their shift is referred to as ‘occupancy’ (Bodin & Dawson 1999; Cleveland & Mayben 1997). Thus, in a manner based on the concept of ‘just in time’ production, the call centre uses calculations, assumptions and technical regulation in order to design the labour process so as to maximise ‘occupancy’ and minimise idle time. This reflects another way service work is rendered into a form that makes it amenable to secondary-labour or production work management methods. In addition to ‘production’ type measures noted above, workers are also evaluated according to ‘quality’ measures. In practice, each call centre organisation develops and applies its own rubric for evaluating the quality of agent work. This rubric always reflects the organisation’s previously planned scripts, emotional affect or ‘styling’ (Cameron 2000; see also, Hochschild 1985) of interaction and accuracy 21 of data entry and data processing performed during each call (‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ in Figure 2 indicate four separate sets of criteria in the quality evaluation rubric in one of the call centres participating in this research. This rubric will be described in detail in Part 2 of the report). Figure 2. Rubric for Rating Quality of Agents While ‘production’ type measures are based on objective observations taken at the ACD, as will be described below, ‘quality’ measures are subjective and produced by having an authorised individual listen to a certain number of an agent’s calls and rate them according to the prescribed rubric. Deviation from the idealised production or quality measures will result in the prescription and application of 22 ‘training’, coaching, ‘counselling’, cajoling or, if the agent is deemed to be regularly substandard in his or her performance, harsher means that may include suspension and eventually, termination. This combination of productivity and quality ratings is combined in one form so as to display each worker’s individual ratings. This form also makes the total set of workers visible according to common categories and rating or ranking criteria and scales (Figure 3), thus rendering the work and the workers into a common format that reflects and reifies the organisation’s desire for organisation, process, productivity and quality, and makes the agents both individually comparable to an organisationally-produced norm and comparable against each other – the ‘truth’ about each agent. Figure 3. Combined Productivity & Quality Ratings With this, the call centre is ideally characterised as a highly regulated workplace with each individual worker’s conduct continually regulated, paced, and 23 examined from many angles, producing Knowledge, power and organisational ‘truths’ that are simultaneously imposed both ‘silently’ through tools and technologies, and overtly from training, coaching, and the like. One of the supervisors at BigTech, an individual with experience in management on automotive production-lines, confided that he thought that call centre agents were “the most heavily measured workers of all time”. Among academic researchers in both the UK and America, a primary focus in the study of call centres has been on the labour process, and in particular how it is strategically designed and tactically managed to (a) improve efficiency (that is, reduce costs while increasing throughput), (b) improve reliability of the service delivered and/or (c) establish market discrimination through service quality/customer satisfaction ratings. However, where UK researchers also frequently focus on labour process from a critical and/or Marxian perspective – that is criticising the imputably ‘oppressive’ nature of labour process and management in its drive to improve productivity while at the same time reducing costs, often from a Marxian or feminist orientation9 – American social scientists have focused on these issues exclusively from a business orientation that aims to provide advice on ‘how to do it right’. That is, while UK researchers seem interested in the social influences of this particular form of work, American researchers are most interested in taking advantage of it for profit motives, as ‘greenfield’ sites of work in which to apply new management theories or adapt existing management theories (Greenbaum 1998; Houlihan 2001; Richardson & Marshall 1996; Simpson 1999).10 It is thus relevant to point out that 9 Occasionally, as will be described below, also incorporating Foucaultian theory and concepts. One might estimate that this follows from a greater prevalence of call centres in the UK, thus a greater perceived impact on society in the UK. In fact, this is not the case. UK call centres account for only a marginally larger %-age of working population than in the United States (Bain & Taylor 2001a; Cartwright 2003; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; U. S. Department of Labor 2004). That said, it also 10 24 since there is little American research on the social and sociological impact of call centres as a variant of work there is a gap in the literature this project will help to fill. Finally, though it is not a part of this study, the late 20th century and early 21st century phenomenon of ‘outsourcing’ of technology-mediated work from the United States to lower-cost locations such as India, the Philippines, China, Canada and Mexico has affected call centres and call centre agents.11 It is also the case that other forms of work were (and still are) affected by outsourcing. Information technology work, computer programming and other technology development, ‘back office’ functions such as billing, mundane data processing and even the interpretation of medical tests, X-Rays, Cat-scans, etc. are commonly contracted to organisations in India and other locations with highly skilled but underemployed and lower cost populations. That is, through this phenomenon, qualified (and in some cases overqualified) organisations and their workers in other nations are able to provide similar or same service as American organisations, but at a dramatically reduced price. This is primarily the case because labour costs in the United States are substantially higher than those in other nations. Outsourcing to Canada is estimated to save 5% to 8% over call centres located in the U. S. Cost difference from the U. S. is estimated to be 10% in Mexico and 20% to 40% in India, the Philippines and South Africa (Read 2002). Agents at BigTech were told that agents in India employed in a contract relationship with that company were able to complete measurably the same work for reflects the generally more critical orientation of social science in Britain than that typically found in the U. S. 11 Estimates indicate that approximately 8% of call centre work is outsourced from the United States in 2004. Of this, the industry involved in the largest percentage of outsourcing is telecommunications, at 11% (http://www.benchmarkportal.com/newsite/faq/faq.taf?category=Other). 25 less than 1/3 the cost of American workers12 – a fact driven home by statements from the company CEO indicating that BigTech would gradually move virtually all of its call centre work to India. The CEO’s promise was in the process of being fulfilled by the company during fieldwork for this research. During that time, the nearly 900 agents employed by BigTech at the beginning of the research had dwindled to about 500 through staff redundancies, some tactics of which are described below. Additionally, as also noted below, this was a fact that prompted a creative source of resistance from some BigTech agents. It is not the case, however, that all outsourcing sends work overseas. At MedAdvise, the midnight to 7:00AM shift had been outsourced to a similar organisation in a neighbouring state, and organisational restructuring at DeliveryWorldwide came with the threat of decreasing the size of or closing the call centre altogether and relocating it to another state in the United States. In fact, industry reports indicate that there was a stronger domestic outsourcing market than there was an overseas outsourcing market. Nonetheless, following the crippling off shoring of U. S. heavy industries in the global recession of the 1970s, the threat of losing more low and middle-income jobs was front page news in many American locations for much of the years 2000-2004. Outsourcing was even a topic of interest in the 2004 Presidential campaign in the United States. The furore of this phenomenon has dwindled somewhat as I write this in mid 2005 but is still a sensitive topic for those who have lost their jobs – many of whom have not found new work in the continuing stagnant economy of the middle part of the first decade of the 21st century. Despite this, industry reports indicate that more call centre and 12 A tactic that contributes to what is called ‘despotic hegemony’ using a formulation from labour process theory, as will be described below (Burawoy, 1983:603, in Littler 1990, p. 62). 26 information-technology work is still being created in the U. S. than is being outsourced to other locations. Looking forward, the following chapter in this Part of the report will inspect several social science theory bases selected from those deemed most organised and influential in studies of labour. The major tenets of these theoretical bases will be reviewed as will their aspects that inform conceptions of power, resistance and subjectivity. While none of these sections is intended to be exhaustive in regards to the full implications of each theory, the review serves to (a) situate theories and their relevance to this project, (b) point up places where the theories may inform each other and this project and (c) identify gaps in the theoretical and analytic reach of these theories that call for new ways of looking at issues of power, resistance and subjectivity to fulfil the aims of this project. The final chapter in this Part of the report addresses methodological issues related to this project. 27 CHAPTER 2. LABOUR PROCESS THEORY, FEMINIST THEORY & FOUCAULTIAN THEORY As society is in constant motion, many theories have been formulated to attempt an explanation of society and its processes. The production and influence of discursive social scientific Knowledge is no different in sociological studies of labour – the topic area into which this study falls. In studies of labour there are multiple theories, specialisations and subtopics (Abbott 1993). Within this wide range, it is the case that a few have been especially influential and thus become more developed, deepened and broadened along both academic and popular dimensions and thus influence our conceptions of our social world and what can be done with and in it. In the sociology of labour, the most persistently influential or popular ‘ideas to think with’ are Marxist and feminist (Abbott 1993);13 for some, Marxist and feminist literature is also deemed to comprise the most coherent grouping of theory and research in literature of the sociology of labour (Abbott 1993). For that reason, the review of literature for this project will begin with these theoretical bases. However, due to the depth and breadth of both Marxist and feminist literature across all facets of sociology, it is not appropriate to perform a comprehensive review here. Instead, I will limit my discussion to relevant segments of these literatures and will review and discuss them as they relate to the topic of interest in this project, namely, the development of the subject and subjectivity in technology-mediated tertiary labour. However, it is also important to note that despite their importance to the field of labour studies these theoretical bases contain gaps and produce ‘blind spots’ in one’s theoretical vision while at the same time 13 And, of course, there are Marxist feminists. 28 amplifying only part of what can be said to occur in society – consistent with the metaphor above, some eddies and whirls that exist in a river may be obscured by an inability or lack of desire to delve past what appear to be calm waters when viewed from a detached and abstracted view from outside of the object of study. With this realisation, one is left looking for other theoretical ‘tools to think with’ in the analysis of ever-changing social life. It is the case that Foucaultian theory and its associated ‘ideas to think with’ have been actively incorporated into both Marxist and feminist literature and, as will be shown below, continue to produce new options for social research both independent of and in addition to these theories. This has produced mixed reviews and varying effect on both the theory base and individuals working from these theoretical positions. Proponents of the incorporation of Foucaultian theory and ideas have pointed up gaps in Marxist and feminist literatures and used it to suggest means to fill those gaps, at least provisionally (Adams & Sydie 2002d; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Clegg 1998; Ezzy 1997; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Haraway 1990, 2004a; Knights 1990; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Knights & Willmott 1989; McKinlay & Taylor 1995, 1998; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Sawicki 1991a, 1991b, 1994; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Townley 1993; Willmott 1990; Wray-Bliss 2002). Opponents of the incorporation of Foucaultian theory and ideas have appealed for a conservation and solidification of theoretical boundaries such that alternate views are seen as inappropriate or even categorically harmful to the universal structuralism of orthodox Marxist theory and long-standing feminist theory (Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Smith, D. 1990b, 1990d, 1996, 1999a; Thompson 1990; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995). As will be shown below, these 29 arguments are sometimes useful but sometimes inappropriate, for while any stable base of knowledge and understanding provides us with useful tools for thought and action, these same things can trap us if we hold their imputed ‘truths’ too dear, blinding us of their own power and impeding our ability to imagine new ways to be and to understand. For example, to orthodox followers, the internal consistency of theoretical Marxism is said to be substantial and indeed ‘sufficient’ such that the inclusion of Foucaultian ideas is considered harmful (Clegg 1998; Lucio-Martinez & Stewart 1997; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995). Similar criticisms are levelled at the incorporation of Foucaultian ideas into some feminist research, writing and theory (Adams & Sydie 2002d; Cooper 1994; Sawicki 1994; Smith, D. 1990b, 1990d, 1996, 1999a). Curiously, however, this is not a universally held view and there continues to be a stream of appeals to include Foucaultian concepts in both Marxist and feminist theory and research that draws upon these theories (Adams & Sydie 2002c, 2002d; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Cooper 1994; Diamond & Quinby 1988; Gartman 1999; Haraway 1990, 1991c; Knights 1990; Knights & Willmott 1989; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Sawicki 1991a, 1994; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Smith, D. 1990a, 1996; Taylor, S. 1998; Thompson 1990; Townley 1994; Wray-Bliss 2002). In particular, the belief in universal structures by both Marxists and some feminists, leads to criticism of Foucaultian theory based particularly on arguments over the nature of power, resistance and subjectivity, and how these are treated differently in each theoretical base. Such are ideological battles in which massive and buttressed walls are erected. However, rather than keeping to one walled theoretical enclave, I would prefer to simply walk freely among them, choosing what is useful 30 and leaving behind what is not, rather than leaving anything sacred. The literature review contained in this section will thus orient primarily to these topics as they are defined, described and used in each theory and how Foucaultian theory can and does contribute value to, in particular, a study of labour. Theory has a unique position in the social sciences. In many cases, sociological theory attempts to follow the natural science model, perhaps following from the orientation of one of its founders, Auguste Comte, who preferred to call the field ‘social mechanics’ (Hacking 1991, p. 181). Theory sometimes suggests a ‘top down’ evolutionary or functional ‘purpose’ of social phenomenon and norms that permeate human thought and action in social settings (Abrahamson 2001; Alexander 1998; Durkheim 1997; Mouzelis 1999; Parsons 1949, 1951). Other theories are intended to be critical of or to problematise the functional status of social phenomenon or stable social formations (sometimes called ‘structures’) granted in the natural science model of sociology, and provide ways of knowing that are intended to motivate change in those forms/structures. In some cases, critical orientations retain an allegiance to functions and structures (Braverman 1974; Burawoy 1979; Cockburn 1983; Edwards 1990; Mulholland 2004; Ritzer 2000b; Smith, D. 1990a) and sometimes attempt to move past such things in what is called post-structuralism and post-modernism (Armstrong 1994; Boland 1989; Haraway 1990, 2004a; Knights & McCabe 1998; Knights & Odih 2000; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995; Townley 1993, 1994; Winiecki 2004b). The third main orientation in sociology, known as interactionism, orients to the idea that society is produced through the ongoing interactive accomplishments of members from the ‘bottom up’, continuously (re)producing or re-discovering social order in micro-level actions (Coulon 1995; Garfinkel 1967; Hochschild 1985, 1998; 31 Lynch 1993; Psathas 1995; Smith, D. 1977, 1984, 1987b, 1990a, 1990c; ten Have & Psathas 1995; Turner 1974; Whalen, Whalen & Henerson 2002; Zimmerman 1969, 1970). Each of these different theoretical orientations carries with it different assumptions of what society is and does, and, of course, the various natures and purposes of sociology and along the way, what we can (and perhaps should) know about society and what should be done with this Knowledge. In the first, universal structures are assumed to exist and the actions of members in society are said to be functional in the production and continual reproduction of these structures – a ‘top down’ orientation to society. Interactionism assumes there are no universal structures ‘out there’ and that the ongoing actions of members come to cohere into locally defined values, expectations and beliefs and it is these that form the foundation and ongoing establishment of a stable society – a ‘bottom up’ orientation. Critical positions that rely on a structuralist stance orient to the oppressiveness of existing social structures and advocate for their demolition and the erection of new structures (Braverman 1974; Gartman 1999; Marx 1992). Critical and post-structural and post-modern orientations to the study of social phenomenon question the universality of social structures and attest to the continuous and unnoticed impact of myriad forces on the production of society (Armstrong 1994; Clifford 1986; de Certeau 1985; Foucault 1980b, 1988b, 1990a, 1990c, 1994a, 1994c, 1995, 2000d; Hacking 1982). Post-modern approaches deny that stable structures exist at all (Berger 1998; Lemert 1997), a somewhat tenuous position (Rabinow & Rose 2003). In general, however, despite their differences, critical social science research is aimed at identifying the ongoing influence of what appear to be stable patterns in society and working to upset them in various ways in order to emancipate those underrepresented or oppressed in and by them. Most importantly, 32 post-structural forms of critical research orient to already-historical social norms and the unique contextually-relevant actions of individuals (thus, both ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’). This critical orientation introduced by Foucault refers to an analysis of the production and nature of Knowledge in society, how that Knowledge is used and how this Knowledge and its use affect the production and definition of social objects and subjects (Foucault 1980b, 1988b, 1990a, 1990c, 1994a, 1994c, 1995, 2000d). Foucault’s theorising is especially countered against a belief in either ‘top-down’ universal structures or society due solely to the ‘bottom up’ actions by individuals, and rather attempts to map how actions from both the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ contribute to the norms and forms we know as society. That said, Foucault never attempted to generate a universal theory. Instead he focused on specific institutions in society, how specific forms of Knowledge emerged in specific historical conditions, and how that Knowledge affected the production of modern forms of, for example, psychiatry, medicine and criminology (Foucault 1988b, 1994a, 1995). As will be elaborated below, for Foucault, ‘discourse’ is the stabilised product of the ongoing production of Knowledge about the physical and social world as a result of the application of already-historical Knowledge to produce technologies that affect the production of power to direct local actions by individuals. Thus, it is Knowledge and its application (also called ‘power’) that is central to the ongoing production of truth, subjects and subjectivity in society as well as society itself. As will be elaborated below, for Foucault, it is also the case that resistance is a form of power that is exercised in opposition to or for altering particular arrays of Knowledge and actions that are based upon such knowledge. As indicated, in the sociology of labour it is the case that Marxist and feminist orientations comprise what some consider to be the most theoretically 33 unified bodies of work (Abbott 1993). The following sections of this chapter will detail components of these theory bases as they relate to this research: (a) Marxist influenced labour process theory, (b) selected feminist perspectives that are marked by an orientation to universal structures and functions. However, some feminist theory also orients to more interactionist and Foucaultian perspectives. I will detail components of this body of theory and will also include a review of (c) Foucaultian theory, especially to point up places where it provides unique perspectives glossed over or handled by Marxist and feminist perspectives in a way that actually limits the analyst’s ability to study the production of subjectivity in social settings. These theory bases will be revisited and empirically situated in more detail in Part 2 and Part 3 of this report. 1. Labour Process Theory & Related Theories From its inception, a substantial literature on the sociology of labour has utilised Marxian perspectives to analyse what are considered to be universal laws delimiting the means and mechanisms of economics as devices for controlling, subjecting and exploiting workers for capitalist gains, and universal laws describing means for workers to overthrow this exploitation and return to an organised system where they are in charge of their own skill, knowledge and futures, rather than always yoked to the interests of capital such that they are always repressed and impoverished in comparison to capital (Braverman 1974; Burawoy 1979; Collins 1988; Ezzy 1997; Harrington 1962; Knights & Willmott 1990b; Marx 1992; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; McLennan 2001; Ritzer 2000b; Sennett 1998; Smart 1999; Wardell 1999; Wardell, Steiger & Meiksins 1999). Much of this literature 34 follows from Braverman’s (1974) review and criticism of 20th century labour process, primarily in terms of secondary labour but also expanding the view to office work and information processing work involving computers – a visionary perspective in many ways. In particular, Braverman’s volume was dedicated to upsetting what he saw as a movement through early 20th century labour studies and social science related to studies of labour that increasingly favoured management and disadvantaged labour.14 Labour process theory has been actively applied, debated and updated since then (Abbott 1993; Bain 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Burawoy 1979; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Cockburn 1983; Knights & Willmott 1990b; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Parker 1999; Rose, E. 2002; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004; Wardell, Steiger & Meiksins 1999). While the core of this literature addresses secondary labour issues, it is also commonly applied in research and criticism of tertiary labour (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Cobble 1991; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Paules 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001). Sometimes it is applied in concert with other theories and forms critical of the routinisation of work, labour process, ‘deskilling’, and more recently, the ‘McDonaldization’ and ‘corrosion of character’ in work and society (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2001b; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Boland 1989; Braverman 1974; Burchell 1991; du Gay 2001; Ezzy 1997; Geschwender & Geschwender 1999; Harrington 1962; Lindsay & McQuaid 2004; McKinlay & Starkey 1998b; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; O'Neill 1986; Ritzer 2000b; Rose, E. 2002; Russell 2002, 2004; Sennett 1998; Smart 1999; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999). 14 See Rose (1999c, esp. ch. 5-10) for a thoroughgoing critical review of social science literature and business practice of the type criticised by Braverman (1974). 35 Parts of this literature that relate directly to studies of call centres also specifically name labour process theory (Armstrong 1985; Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 1999, 2000, 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Batt & Moynihan 2002; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Braverman 1974; Burawoy 1979; Burgess & Connell 2004; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Ezzy 1997; Knights & Odih 2000; Korczynski 2004; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Rose, E. 2002; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; van den Broek 2002). Much of this literature, while aimed at debate in labour process theory, is critical of its components and endeavours to update or reinvigorate Marxian labour process theory with contemporary interpretative forms of social research, primarily Foucaultian approaches. Orthodox proponents of Marxian and labour process theories are sometimes hostile to this effort, especially due to the differences in how Marxian structuralism models power, resistance and subjectivity and how these are conceptualised in Foucaultian theory (Knights 1990; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Knights & Willmott 1989, 1990b; Michael & Still 1992; Mulholland 2002, 2004; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Parker 1999; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995; Wardell 1999; Willmott 1990). In particular, under the Marxian labour process theory orientation, the power of capital is seen as a structural factor that causes particular and oppressive outcomes on labour. This is in direct contrast to the Foucaultian vision of power, which is seen as constitutive of, rather than a structural cause of, social outcomes. In particular, Braverman’s criticisms focused on what he referred to as ‘deskilling’ and ‘degradation’ of labour in the 20th century. While deskilling and degradation are separate concepts, they are interrelated. For Braverman, ‘deskilling’ arises directly from what he perceived to be a single management practice at the root 36 of most if not all problems he identified in the mid to late 20th century labour process – Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’, also known as Taylorism (Taylor, F. 1947, 1972).15 Scientific management is a management ideology and methodology that assumes superiority of management over labour, especially in terms of management’s ability to plan for, implement and continually re-engineer systems to maintain maximally efficient labour systems, and its ability (indeed responsibility) to train, coach and cajole labour into following management’s plans – sometimes utilising psychological practices to convince labour to accept a fractional increase in pay for substantial intensification of effort (Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Knights & McCabe 1998; Knights & Odih 2000; Mulholland 2002; Ritzer 2000b; Taylor, F. 1947, pp. 44-46; Taylor, P. & Bain 2003; Townley 1994),16 a reward that was, in fact, provided in return for subordinating oneself to the dictates of management even while it was to be perceived by labour as extra compensation for extra work. It also implied a responsibility for labour to follow the directions handed down by the presumably superior intellect and ability of management. 15 Braverman’s adoption of Taylor’s scientific management as the single threat is itself indicative of weakness with his theorising. In particular, even at the time of his writing, there were other management practices that did not rest upon Taylor’s work (Bramel & Friend 1981; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Willmott 1990a; Littler 1990; Simpson 1999; Wardell 1999). Additionally, it is the case that it was very difficult for an organization to fulfil the considerable demands of scientific management on an ongoing basis. Consequently, there were few ‘pure’ examples of the practice. Even the famous Hawthorne studies began as an analysis of scientific management, but diverged into the development of an entirely new school of management under the equally managerialist Elton Mayo (Bramel & Friend 1981; Roethlisberger & Dickson 1939; Rose, N. 1999c; Schwartzman 1993). 16 For Frederick Taylor, scientific management was viewed as a means to emancipate both the worker and management from arbitrary actions by either. ‘Scientific’ methods for engineering the ‘one best way’ to perform any task and computing the value/pay that should be awarded for compliance and competent accomplishment of the task were said to eliminate the possibility that either management or labour could exert unethical force in the labour relation (Taylor, F. 1947, 1972). Taylor went so far as to consider his methods to represent the single-most viable means for the United States to realise the full potential of its workforce (Taylor, F. 1947, 1972) on the cusp of the American Great Depression. Ironically, it is also the case that Lenin considered scientific management to represent a means for ensuring equality and fair treatment for workers (Ransom 1997, p. 150). 37 For Braverman, ‘deskilling’ is the product of management’s effort to continuously subdivide complex tasks requiring the deployment of an individual worker’s skill and knowledge to simple, even trivial movements or decisions that require little independent skill or knowledge. Deskilled tasks require less control over one’s own skill and knowledge and remove the artisan’s discretion from work. Braverman, following Marx, argued that this afforded management with increasingly finer degrees of control over labour to the point that complex processes may be accomplished by a choreographed collection of unskilled and low-knowledge workers. For business, this permits, as explained by Adam Smith (1991 (orig. 1776)), an increase in the efficiency of production over that possible when one or a few knowledgeable workers accomplish all of the tasks and subtasks required to complete the same process. Consequent to this deskilling process, and because experience, knowledge and skill are no longer required to perform the work, lesser-skilled persons can perform the now-routinised work, rates of pay can be decreased and work is both monetarily and intrinsically reduced in value for the worker – a degradation process (Geschwender & Geschwender 1999; Greenbaum 1999; Rogers 1999; Sennett 1998) except in the face of collective labour arrangements. Similarly, as the work is deskilled, it becomes possible for organisations to design machinery to complete its processes with more speed than possible by human workers. This machinery replaces human workers and the work is further degraded. With decreased skill and knowledge and worker-replacing technology, surplus value is thus easier to produce, and so are higher profits for the organisation employing this practice of deskilling. Braverman (1974) also hypothesised that these practices would eventually be transferred to service and clerical work, a hypothesis 38 verified by many researchers and this project (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Batt & Moynihan 2002; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Ezzy 1997; Frenkel et al. 1998; Geschwender & Geschwender 1999; Greenbaum 1999; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; Korczynski 2004; McKinlay & Starkey 1998b, 1998c; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Rogers 1999; Rose, E. 2002; Russell 2002, 2004; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, P. et al. 2002). That is, the range of skills possessed by an artisan that permits one to accomplish the full process, and which allows that individual to command high pay, is rendered impotent, for only a fraction of the range of skills possessed by a skilled artisan is actually called for in the newly simplified labour process. This, and the introduction of worker-replacing machinery, results in the ability of capital to reduce skilled labour to essentially unskilled labour that performs the redesigned work and tends to the machines, all of which allows capital to pay the worker a fraction of what his or her skills might actually command if fully utilised (Braverman 1974; Gartman 1999). In theory this process never ends and organisations continually ‘revolutionise’ work through ongoing efforts to divide, simplify and replace tasks with machinery for improved efficiency, lower cost and higher profit to the owner of the means of production. 17 Labour is thus ‘deskilled’, and also ‘degraded’ in terms of pay and the loss of intrinsic reward of work derived from application of the worker’s decision-making and physical manipulation skills in completing complex tasks (Braverman 1974; 17 This has been associated with the hiring of women for work in the now ‘deskilled’ jobs, which is, in turn associated with a further depression of wages due to historical undervaluing of women workers (Bain 2001b; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Geschwender & Geschwender 1999; Rogers 1999; Wardell 1999). This topic will be elaborated upon below. 39 Gartman 1999). In its place, capital is said to come to fully control the labour process and hold dominion over the worker’s skills, wage-earning capability and destiny in work. For management, reduction of wages and the gradual amortisation of technologies that replace and/or further deskill work have the effect of increasing surplus value, which is converted into profit when the work products are sold. Capital thus has an ongoing motivation to continuously deskill work and invest in equipment that replaces labour.18 While the crux of Braverman’s criticisms are aimed at the deskilling and degradation of the labour process in secondary labour, it is also the case that he saw the increasing incorporation of computers into office work as a means through which capital could introduce similar deskilling and degradation over worker’s skill in clerical and administrative tasks – one form of tertiary labour. That is, through the fracturing of complex clerical and administrative tasks and incorporation of them into computer programs, work can be similarly deskilled and degraded for a larger set of workers, extending management’s control over a larger portion of the workforce, a hypothesis verified by many researchers and this project (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Batt & Moynihan 2002; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Ezzy 1997; Frenkel et al. 1998; Geschwender & Geschwender 1999; Greenbaum 1999; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; Korczynski 2004; McKinlay & Starkey 1998b, 1998c; O'Doherty & Willmott 18 That is, while labour costs are continuous, the costs of equipment are fixed. Thus, when equipment is fully amortised, it no longer requires a reinvestment of resources from the company. Consequently, reduction of the continuous costs of labour and investment in fixed costs of equipment has the effect of further increasing surplus value. This works to a point, however, after which it may prove a liability to the company seeking ever greater division of labour and depression of wages, as noted below (Gartman 1999). 40 2001; Rogers 1999; Rose, E. 2002; Russell 2002, 2004; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, P. et al. 2002). At the same time management is involved in continuously rationalising and deskilling the labour process, it is also involved in the accumulation of knowledge about the workers and the work itself; learning what workers can do more efficiently (in part by a technical rationalisation of labour process and in part by observing workers to see how they themselves refine the process prescribed for them by management19), where variation occurs in the process (that is, where worker discretion remains), what techniques and rewards (and punishments) provide impetus to labour to comply with management’s expectations, where worker resistance upsets the ‘one best way’ determined by management, etc. Thus, through the ongoing process of deskilling the labour process – a fracturing and division of labour – management gains knowledge of the labour process – indeed appropriates knowledge from the workers – such that it can continuously increase its authority over labour and decrease labour’s ability to exercise its own knowledge – thus reducing its ability to resist management power (Gartman 1999; Rose, N. 1999c, esp. ch. 5-10). Thus, for Marxists and orthodox followers of Braverman’s labour process theory, power arises from the structural relation of one’s class to the means of production. The owner of the means of production (bourgeoisie class) has what amounts to de facto control over labour simply as a result of the owner’s relation to the means of production – a structural kind of power over labour. Conversely, if an individual’s relation to the means of production is as a labourer (proletariat class), he 19 This double-sided rationalisation reflects the thoroughgoing managerialism of the process; when management performs such refinements it is said to be consistent with the naturally higher intelligence of management and its sensible desire to improve the efficiency and fairness of work. However, when labour performs such refinements, it is said to be due to the natural laziness of labour and its desire to reduce the amount of work for which they are responsible, thus effectively increasing pay for less labour (Taylor, F. 1947). This was later formalised in psychological theory under McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y of management and labour (Rose, N. 1999c, p. 110ff). 41 or she has little power in the relation simply because of that relation.20 That is, under Marxist and orthodox labour process theory, power is considered to be structural and in this configuration always a negative force that has the effect of stripping the worker of his or her ‘natural’ authority over the deployment of one’s knowledge and skill and one’s ability to gain as an independent agent from that deployment. Under this class relation, the subject is said to be produced simply through the structure of class relation – one’s relation to the means of production. Thus, worker subjectivity is said to be dependent upon the universal relation that always obtains in capitalism (Knights 1990, p. 299). Braverman avoided any other discussion of the subject. According to Knights (1990, p. 299) this was out of a desire to avoid or move away from what Braverman considered to be a trend for highly managerialist literature in labour studies – work that either rationalised/justified the efforts of management or provided management with information and tactics for increasing its authority over labour.21 Thus, in orthodox labour process theory, the subject is simply a product of the structural power manifest in universal laws arising from one’s relation to the means of production (Thompson 1990, pp. 113-114). Considering power as a structural artefact blocks off further inspection of power simply because it is seen as abstractly ‘above’ all other 20 However, the capitalist mode of production and associated social relations to the system of production is said also to contain its own limitation and indeed, instruments of its own collapse (Gartman 1999, pp. 399-401). First, by steadily replacing labour with machinery, the capitalist steadily removes the ability to refine labour process and depress wages, thus increase surplus value and profit. Second, while labour is alienated in the capitalist labour relation, capital still requires cooperation from labour to succeed. Thus, labour does have substantial authority though obscured within the deskilled and degraded division of labour. Capitalism’s strength is thus balanced in a contradictory relation and requires ongoing efforts to continually entice labour to participate. Finally, while capital’s practice of deskilling and continually moving workers into new roles when prior tasks are further divided does have a fragmenting effect on labour, thus decreasing particular avenues of resistance, it also points up the fact that the production of a new subject is of substantial importance to capital. That is, while the artisan with broad and deep skills is no longer needed under capitalist modes of production, workers who are flexible and multifaceted and able to quickly learn new tasks become needed. Thus, workers of this sort are now in a potential position of strength with relation to capital and constitute a new class of workers. 21 See Rose (1999c, esp. ch. 5-10) for a thoroughgoing critical review of social science literature and business practice of the type avoided by Braverman (1974). 42 factors. This contrasts with a Foucaultian vision in which power is constitutive of social action. By viewing power as both the medium and outcome of action, and not as the cause of it, Foucault enables the analyst to ‘get inside’ its operation and identify its functioning, and identify means to upset or alter it – a viewpoint that, as will be shown below, goes far in explaining how subjects and subjectivity are formed in TMTL. Braverman’s expectation was that the alienation felt by secondary labourers as a result of the deskilled and degraded labour process would gradually also be felt by workers in tertiary labour, and this expanded set of workers across several categories of labour would come to command greater political authority that, when mobilised, could overwhelm capital by withholding their labour power. In so doing workers could also command higher wages, reversing the degradation and deskilling of work. Because of the larger proportion of women in tertiary labour, Braverman also saw this as a means to include women into the process of political change – a portion of the population not well represented by orthodox Marxist theory (Gartman 1999). In Marxist and orthodox labour process theory, the concepts of power, the subject and resistance are viewable in terms of dualisms consistent with the theorised universal class structures and relations that obtain in labour, economics and capitalism. The owner of the means of production is said to ‘own’ power while the labourer is largely considered powerless. The subject is produced only in relation to one’s class, or one’s relation to the means of production, and resistance is considered to be a force that is always directed against capital by labour in its struggle to regain power. 43 Labour process theory has been elaborated past Braverman’s original vision, primarily in efforts to address criticisms. For example, Braverman’s labour process theory assumes one universal logic of management, a dependence vigorously criticised in contemporary literature and even in literature that reviews management methods in force prior to the introduction of labour process theory (Armstrong 1985; Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 1999; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Clegg 1998; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Korczynski 2004; McKinlay & Starkey 1998c; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Rose, N. 1999c; Russell 2002, 2004; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Townsend 2004; van den Broek 2002). For example, the management technologies of total quality management (TQM), just-intime production (JIT), ‘excellence’, ‘high performance teams’ (also called high commitment teams) have been incorporated into labour process theory and related research, however always with the result of reifying the universal class relation and degradation and deskilling of work (Bain & Taylor 2000; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Cartwright 2003; Donzelot 1991; du Gay 1996b; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 2003; McCabe 2004; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Mulholland 2002; Rose, N. 1999c; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Townsend 2004; van den Broek, Callaghan & Thompson 2004). Sympathetic critics of labour process theory suggest that the introduction of new technologies introduces a need for new skills, additional training for workers (thus opportunity for development rather than, or in addition to the obsolescence of ‘old’ craft skills) and new spaces for resistance (Belt 2002; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Burgess & Connell 2004; Frenkel et al. 1998; Houlihan 2001, 2002; 44 Russell 2004; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002).22 Related literature also indicates that, within call centres, women are a primary beneficiary of this training, principally because they are frequently a majority in call centre workplaces (Batt, Hunter & Wilk 2003; Belt 2002; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Houlihan 2001; Mulholland 2002). Additionally, and central to this thesis, another criticism that has been vigorously debated in academic literature is over the topic of worker subjectivity in the labour process and the latter’s limitations with regard to the former. Braverman limited his analysis to the classic and universal Marxian factors, such as capital, class and control and did not directly address issues of worker subjectivity. Smith and Thompson (1999) indicate this gap has been addressed largely in three separate steams of research in what they call the ‘second wave’ of research in the labour process tradition: first, research on worker resistance to management – what is called the ‘control-resistance’ paradigm; second, in terms of creativity – the development of tactics that don’t overtly resist, but that ‘dodge’ the force of management; third, in terms of what has come to be called ‘worker consent’ or docility to management control in ways that nonetheless produce individual, perhaps selfish, gains for individual workers through the development and acting out of workplace games and tactics. In the latter two orientations, workers are shown to have the ability to exercise their creativity – something Braverman’s own thesis says has been totally expunged in the labour process. However, even in these two latter orientations in the second wave of labour process theory, the worker’s creativity is not found to contribute to proactive change for the workers in general (Belt 2002; Belt, 22 Of course, the ‘deskilling’ assertion has also been reinforced by others (Greenbaum 1999; Ritzer 2000b; Rogers 1999; Sennett 1998), as described below. 45 Richardson & Webster 2000; Burawoy 1979; Mulholland 2002; van den Broek 2002). Similarly, criticisms of Braverman’s characterisation of the limited prospects for worker reactions to labour process have highlighted the variety of means that workers find to resist or adjust the relations between labour and capital (Bain & Taylor 1999, 2000, 2001b; de Certeau 1985; Ezzy 1997; Jermier, Knights & Nord 1994; Knights & Collinson 1987; Knights & Odih 2000; McKinlay & Starkey 1998c; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; van den Broek 2002). Some of this work employs Foucaultian analytics to reinforce how workers’ action can and does affect both the production of subjectivity and effect resistance (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Clegg 1998; Findlay & Newton 1998; Frenkel et al. 1999; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; see also, Winiecki 2004b). However, criticisms of these efforts attempt to marginalise and even discount the introduction of subjectivity into discussions of labour process (Ezzy 1997; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001). O’Doherty and Willmott (2001) hypothesise this follows from an effort to avoid any hint of a return to ‘plant sociology’ – a bourgeois-oriented perspective arising from the notion that workers are, in fact, in a position of control in the labour arrangement (that is, rather than the Marxian’s assertion that capital is in control) on account they can withdraw their labour power. ‘Plant sociology’ was a mode of research common prior to the introduction of Braverman’s thesis (see also, Rose, N. 1999c, esp. ch. 6) and was characterised by assumptions that any participation by workers is actually an indication of satisfaction 46 in their relation to management, the workplace and capital. In particular, O’Doherty and Willmott (2001) assert orthodox labour process theorists resist the possibility of providing managerialists with evidence that workers are in any way satisfied or with data that could be used to further dominate workers. Additionally, resistance to the introduction of subjectivity into debates over labour process theory may arise from labour process theory’s foundational dualism favouring structure over agency (O'Doherty & Willmott 2001). In other words, orthodox labour process theorists misinterpret efforts to introduce studies of subjectivity on the grounds of a fear that this will issue a return to the very thing labour process theory was developed to contest. Other criticisms of efforts to introduce subjectivity into labour process theory have focused particularly on Foucaultian post-structuralism (O'Doherty & Willmott 2001). These, however, are characterised by misinterpretations of Foucaultian concepts. In particular, these criticisms assert that a thoroughgoing Foucaultian perspective is associated with a replacement of structural factors with ubiquitous networks of heterogeneous forces that produce power, which in turn controls people. In addition, these criticisms assert that without the universal concepts of Marxianinformed theory, no ‘cause’ can be identified and mobilised against. In effect, this criticism is an effort to apply a belief that Foucaultian research introduces other universal concepts, albeit ones that compete with those held by Marxian theories, when, in fact, as described below, Foucault’s work refutes belief in universals. This effort to marginalise the inclusion of subjectivity in labour process theory has the effect of reinforcing the assumption of the universality of its main structuralist concepts. Smith and Thompson (1999) and O’Doherty and Willmott (2001) argue for the inclusion of studies on subjectivity into discussions of labour 47 process theory, if only to extend it in a theoretical landscape decreasingly tolerant of structure and universal concepts and increasingly characterised by a focus on agency and heterogeneous assemblages of forces that produce the present. In particular, they point to Rose’s trenchant ‘Governing the Soul’ (1999c) as an example of a Foucaultian-inspired research on the production of subjectivity in modern society, that can be incorporated into a labour process tradition. However, the assumptions of labour process theory indicating that power of monopoly capital (a) inevitably arises from structural factors, (b) is unavoidable, (c) always deskills and degrades the labour process, (d) inevitably produces workers as alienated subjects and that (e) workers have no recourse to change their surrounding except either withdrawal or revolt, simply leave no room for a Foucaultian-inspired analysis which aims to inspect an interactive process of subjectivity production, because they only permit a view that the subject has no authority in the situation. In addition, these assumptions are not supported in related literature on call centre labour that arises from or appears in labour process theory venues (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 1999, 2000, 2001b; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Deetz 1998; Ezzy 1997; Frenkel et al. 1998; Houlihan 2002; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & Collinson 1987; Knights & McCabe 1998; McKinlay & Starkey 1998c; O'Neill 1986; Russell 2002, 2004; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Townley 1998; van den Broek 2002). In this literature, workers are shown to be able to resist the appearance of control in the workplace and adjust it in many ways, and, as will be described in Part 3 of this report, some of these practices effectively alter the lived experience of call centre work and the actual contents of the work – thus 48 altering its form while allowing the superficial appearances of management and technical control to persist.23 Following criticism from proponents of labour process theory of the simpleminded structural constitution of the subject, especially where it leaves no room for worker discretion in any area except outright resistance against capital’s power such that the historically ‘natural’ relation of a worker to his or her knowledge and discretion are restored, researchers began investigating the subject in labour and developing theories on how the subject is produced and maintained. Michael Burawoy’s study, titled ‘Manufacturing Consent’ (1979) and Cynthia Cockburn’s ‘Brothers’ (1983) are offered as prime examples of attempts to reintroduce the subject into labour process theory (Knights & Willmott 1990a; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004).24 Because Cockburn’s study addresses gender as well as labour process theory, I will include a brief discussion of her study in the section on feminism, below. a. Michael Burawoy: (Re)introducing the Subject Burawoy’s study takes place in a machine shop in which workers are managed in a neo-Taylorist system of piecework production where Burawoy himself was a machinist (Burawoy 1979). He documents workplace activity so as to highlight how workers in fact are not universally oppressed by capital’s power and can and do exert discretion over certain aspects of their work (thus empirically expanding upon Braverman’s orthodox labour process theory) especially with regard to what 23 However, it is not the case that the subject is able to totally avoid power. This will be addressed in Part 3 and Part 4 of the report, below. 24 Burawoy’s project was an ethnography of machine shop work, thus, methodologically at least, somewhat similar to the present research. 49 Burawoy refers to as ‘workplace games’. These games afford workers with the ability to perform what Burawoy describes as ‘making out’ with the goal of maximising take home pay or otherwise benefiting within the capitalist labour process. This was accomplished by tactics such as ‘chiselling’ or ‘fiddling’, ‘building a kitty’, ‘goldbricking’ or bargaining with the foreman for cooperation in return for non-monetary rewards. ‘Chiselling’ or ‘fiddling’ is a process of adjusting one’s timecard so as to slightly increase the time one claims to have worked on jobs with a high rate of pay and similarly slightly decreasing the time one claims to have worked on low-rate jobs, while maintaining one’s overall time on the job. Sometimes, this required the cooperation of others, especially the worker in charge of the timecards, though Burawoy indicates that it could be accomplished independently. ‘Building a kitty’ amounts to ‘busting your ass’ on a long term but easy job and building up a ‘kitty’ of completed parts, while only reporting or turning in the quantity of parts required to be produced on any given day (according to the piece rate computed for the job). This allowed workers to later spend more time on other more difficult or higher paying jobs, while still being able to draw from the ‘kitty’ and ‘make the rate’ each day on the easy job. The point here is to work hard today so as to produce slack time in which the worker could work on higher-rate jobs so as to increase take-home pay. Burawoy describes goldbricking as a form of output restriction in which a worker will not put any additional effort into a difficult job (other than to make the minimum rate) when he or she couldn’t find a way to ‘bust the rate’ and make more money. This guaranteed base pay on a job in which it was difficult if not impossible to make more than the base pay, while also easing the worker’s labour when no additional 50 monetary gain could be had. In all cases, these tactics allowed the worker to increase his or her take home pay while reducing effort somewhat. In all of these ‘games’ it was not unusual for the foreman to actually know the practice and permit it to go on when the resulting productivity would benefit his25 schedule and quotas. However, it was also the case that knowledge of worker violation of workplace rules through the conduct of these games was used tactically by foremen to facilitate the firing of undesirable employees. Burawoy describes the firing of several female machinists who were ‘caught’ in such workplace games, while male workers were allowed to engage in them, usually without drawing the ire of management.26 Burawoy also described practices in which foremen would bargain with workers for compliance in return for non-monetary rewards such as time off or deals to support the worker in interactions with higher management. While Burawoy empirically demonstrates the ability of workers to act in ways that exceed control by management, worker participation in these games is said to be consistent with the ‘rabble hypothesis’ (Hughes 1946, in Burawoy, 1979:140141) in which workers are provided with resources and leeway such that they adopt selfish aims, rather than binding themselves together into class or collective groups that manifest means for workers to gain and use power against management in labour relations. This is said to ensure the ongoing power of management over labour, while affording labour a set of resources that divert them from realising the sort of ‘class consciousness’ that would result in a furthering of the Marxian vision of worker autonomy. In Burawoy’s view, consistent with Marxian theory in general, the power of capital over labour remains one that is structurally causal of the social outcomes rather than one in which all parties contribute. Consequently, labour is left with few 25 In Burawoy’s study, all foremen were male. Burawoy has been criticised by feminists for not developing this practice of keeping women out of the machinist’s workforce (Cockburn 1983; Littler 1990; Wardell 1999; West, J. 1990). 26 51 options and holds no authority in the situation except that which capital gives to it from its considerable power. This differs from a Foucaultian position which holds that the choices of labour itself are constitutive of power in that situation. In other words, these ‘games’ operate such that workers perceive and activate an ability to breach the rules of the organisation and become independent actors with the goal of selfishly maximising their own take home pay or other valuables, while at the same time acting consistently with the organisation’s desires for production. Through satisfaction of the workers’ desires to ‘make out’ in these games, capital is said to activate a hegemonic form of control in which management replaces direct coercion with a network of options that afford a modicum of worker discretion while also reinforcing the organisation’s aims (Littler 1990, p. 62; Willmott 1990). Thus, even in situations where workers are able to exercise their own discretion and realise something approaching autonomy and satisfaction of their creative potential, they are said to still be apprehended by a management conspiracy that successfully channels the worker into nominally compliant behaviour. In this conspiracy, workers’ autonomy is channelled such that they are separated from their own ‘class consciousness’ because successfully ‘making out’ in these practices results in satisfactions that are said to compensate for or obscure what Marx and Braverman hypothesise to be the alienation workers should feel from class alienation within the capitalist power structure. Thus, while Burawoy’s work to include the subject in labour process theory opens up the possibility of studying the subject and in fact shows that workers are not totally dominated and can and do act to satisfy their desires in the working relation, it still rests upon a ‘universal subject’ who is defined only in terms of one’s abstracted class relation to the means of production. Subjects are reduced to being motivated by 52 economic interests who realise their creative potential by ‘making out’ – however under a hegemonic regime owned by capital that is willing to turn a blind eye to the local workings of games because those games both permit and channel worker creativity such that it is ‘really’ directed in ways that satisfy the organisation’s aims for productivity and profit (Wray-Bliss 2001).27 One sympathetic criticism of Burawoy’s effort to include the subject in discussion of labour process indicates that “His analysis of the game of making-out is not so much wrong as incomplete” (Knights 1990, p. 310), principally with respect to the persistent use of the universalising structures of Marxist thought that make subjectivity a difficult concept to handle. Knights (1990) also criticises Burawoy’s treatment as one that introduces ‘compensatory politics’ into labour process theory – the workers’ orientation to workplace games is said to compensate for the alienation they should feel in their capitalist relation to the means of production by exerting autonomy in success at workplace games. Others have taken up themes similar to those noted above and used them to highlight ways that capitalism has employed and deployed rationalisation and bureaucratisation of labour with detrimental effect in different aspects of society. Ritzer’s ‘McDonaldization’ thesis (Ritzer 2000b) and Sennett’s ‘corrosion of character’ (Sennett 1998) provide examples of particular sites of deskilling and degradation of work and through this, of social life. Both Ritzer and Sennett take up Weberian ideal-typical research methods and means of representing social structures to identify archetypes of contemporary business practice, their components and the impact of ongoing bureaucratisation, incorporation of deskilling technology and 27 It is also the case that Burawoy’s effort to reintroduce the subject into labour process theory maintains a primary orientation to class at the expense of other influences, such as gender. As will be described below, it is also possible to critique this orientation to the ‘universal subject’ in terms of Foucault’s ‘decentring of the subject’ – a view that shows the subject is not unary and is instead made up of heterogeneous factors and forces including historical Knowledge and locally contingent facts. 53 rationalisation of processes in labour and other facets of society. Both also employ Weber’s concept of ‘iron cage’ to argue that bureaucracy, technology and rationalisation are all but inescapable components of modern business – a viewpoint similar to the Marxist and labour process theory view insofar as capitalism puts structural factors into position that will inevitably come to oppress the worker through the process of deskilling and degrading work. b. George Ritzer: The McDonaldization Thesis Ritzer’s popular ‘McDonaldization’ thesis uses a Weberian ideal type analysis that renders modern business in terms of four interconnected components, (a) efficiency, (b) predictability, (c) calculability and (d) control. As with orthodox labour process theory, Ritzer alludes that each of these manifests a coordinated pressure or power that affords the continuous rationalisation of process and tasks, thus of always seeing things in the framework of a ‘system’ such that inputs, processes and outputs can be examined critically for the purpose of revolutionising the efficiency of the system, its ability to produce predictable and incrementally controllable outcomes and a priori knowledge of its costs. Like Marxist and labour process theory, Ritzer’s ‘McDonaldization’ theory orients to the economic interest of capitalism and how a thoroughgoing focus on economics influences business to continuously rationalise processes for increased efficiency with the universal effect of rendering social experience and social actors into mediocrity – a universal power of capital to realise its goals while forcing everyone to succumb to that power. Efficiency, the first tenet of McDonaldization, is said to be the central component of the thesis. Additionally, as Burawoy’s workplace games are said to 54 provide economic benefits and a creative outlet for workers, a high degree of corporate efficiency is said to produce seductive benefits to customers in addition to economic benefits to the sponsoring organisation – thus permitting even those who interact with that organisation to be reinforced by the McDonaldization of institutional aspects of society. For example, companies that engage in continuous rationalisation, as described above, will likely be able to sell products at a lower cost. Modern consumers with a desire to make the most use of the limited financial resources they have (which is said to be a product of the deskilled and degraded work they perform, which arises in the same universal structural relations from which McDonaldization emerges) will tend to patronise companies that offer low cost products, both rewarding and reinvigorating the company for its focus on efficiency and/or forcing workers’ wages down to very low levels. The company is thus provided with a continuous impetus to engage in ongoing rationalisation, efficiencygeneration, and, in a word also invoked by Ritzer, Taylorising of its workplace and workers, and the generation of value for organisations that practice ongoing rationalisation that both feeds and effects consumers’ ‘preference’28 for low cost products (Ritzer 2000b, p. 40ff). However, in the process of continuously revolutionising the workforce for efficiency of production, Ritzer indicates that an undesirable side effect is also produced – a dehumanising of the work and social experience (Ritzer 2000b, pp. 4041) analogous to Braverman’s deskilling and degradation. The prototypical fast food franchise exemplifies this in the form of highly standardised menus, ingredients, 28 I use this term in the same way as conversation analysts refer to a ‘preference’ for social actors to exhibit particular responses to particular events (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 1978). In this framing, ‘preference’ refers simply to a preponderance of action in a particular manner rather than to a psychologically motivated desire to act in that way. That is, while a consumer might psychologically ‘prefer’ to purchase goods from a high-end retailer, he or she more often shops at low-end stores because these stores offer lower prices for similar products. When analysed demographically, the latter appears as a statistical ‘preference’ for the low-end store. 55 processes and regulations for performing these processes. Customers are said to come to accept the limitations of highly rationalised and routinised processes in return for reliability and low cost, while employees are said to suffer from a mandated attention to compliance and low or no discretion in the work. Employees are expected to use preformatted scripts in their interaction with customers, and produce data processing records that follow the technical requirements built into the computer terminals, point of purchase registers, etc. they use in the accomplishment of their work. Additional practices are employed to force workers to adopt these disciplinary practices; even examination practices are infrequently exercised. As will be reflected in the chapters in Part 2 and Part 3 of this report, this same drive for efficiency is reflected in call centres. Thus, as with labour process theory, the McDonaldization thesis does provide some analytic tools for describing TMTL, albeit with a Marxian view of power over workers as opposed to a Foucaultian view where workers’ actions contribute to the constitution of power. Efficiency also comes with technological innovations that push responsibility upon the customer to perform services formerly provided by the company. For example, the innovation of the drive through window at McDonald’s restaurants (a very popular innovation taken advantage of by many customers and copied by most fast food restaurants) makes the customer responsible for disposing of one’s own trash – an effect that reduces the amount of service the organisation is responsible for providing, thus the cost of doing business – in return for flexibility and speed for patrons of the restaurant. Following efficiency, the second tenet of McDonaldization, calculability, is said to proxy, and indeed come to stand for, quality. Calculability is intertwined with the other dimensions of McDonaldization. For instance, 56 calculability makes it easier to determine efficiency; that is, those steps that can be clocked as taking the least time are usually considered the most efficient. Once quantified, products and processes become more predictable, because the same amounts of materials or time are used from one place or time to another. Quantification is also linked to control, particularly to the creation of nonhuman technologies that perform tasks in a given amount of time or make products of a given weight or size. (Ritzer 2000b, p. 63)29 Thus, calculability is linked directly with practices of quantification – the development of measurement scales that permit an organisation to determine the extent to which employees are complying with the rationalised and (hypothetically) maximally-efficient Taylorised processes. The focus on collection of quantitative data in call centres and use of that data in creating an image of the worker(s), as described above, produces copious (however, as will be seen below, partial) evidence for this aspect of McDonaldization in TMTL. Predictability is also imbricated with efficiency and calculability. For example, if an organisation has designed a process so as to be efficient and calculable, it has also been rendered predictable by virtue of the production of a historical record of data so as to produce historiographic and/or normalised charts of the process. ‘Normal’ variation and statistical ‘norms’ derived from this data make the process predictable in terms of the Taylorised processes and points of examination included in the process. Additionally, in the effort to produce a predictable process, Ritzer asserts that organisations will continually revolutionise these processes through efforts to exercise increasingly minute rationalisation of bureaucratic process, regulations that prescribe process and scripts, job aids, computer software, etc. that simultaneously regulate and continuously generate documentation of the process itself – affording the maintenance of efficiency and calculability at the same time. As glossed above, and as will be elaborated below, 29 Ritzer also notes, “Calculability is clearly linked to irrationality since, among other things, the emphasis on quantity tends to affect quality adversely” (Ritzer 2000b, p. 63). I will address the link between this observation and call centres below, in Part 2 of this report. 57 call centres reflect a similar production and use of data, and employ it in order to plan and produce shifts and schedules for workers and to continuously revise scripting and other tasks performed by agents – all in the service of increasing predictability, efficiency and calculability. The fourth tenet of McDonaldization, control, is similarly interconnected with the others. In ‘control’, Ritzer indicates that non-human technologies are developed and applied in order to exercise what amounts to a disciplinary force over workers in order to control their activity so it is consistent with the organisation’s desire for efficiency, calculability and predictability. The four components of Ritzer’s McDonaldization thesis thus parallel conventional Marxist concepts and orthodox labour process theory, but are applied more broadly so as to describe its penetration into more areas of society (Ritzer 2000b). Similarly, the subject in Ritzer’s thesis is produced by the inevitable structural forces of capitalism; the worker is unavoidably destined for oppression under the McDonaldizing forces of efficiency, predictability, calculability and control, and the consumer is lulled into consumption practices that favour low cost, convenient products, continually reinforcing and amplifying McDonaldization across all facets of society. Seductive in its focus on selected features of modern institutions, Ritzer’s McDonaldization thesis shares with Braverman’s labour process theory a romantic vision of ‘pre-McDonaldized’ processes, methods and ideals, just as Braverman romanticises the craft worker and his (or her) ‘idealised’ authority over one’s own knowledge and skill (Braverman 1974; Wardell 1999). Ritzer also shares with orthodox labour process theory an omission of other social forces such as alternative management methods, and treats the social actor as all but totally controlled by the ineluctable force of rationalisation, and only weakly and tenuously able to mount a 58 response that provides hope for a return to the values and practices of an idealised yesterday. Ritzer’s major suggestion for resisting the otherwise inevitable spread of rationalisation over modern life is prototypically Weberian – a hope for ‘old style’ businesses and processes to find a market niche such that they provide individuals with non-McDonaldized options for consumption and thus a consumption-oriented production of subjectivity – an option that he suggests will provide (a) consumers with ‘better’ options and (b) workers with more humane and intrinsically rewarding work. This is a creative hypothesis that rests on the hope that customers will recognise and value products produced by non-oppressed workers in non-Taylorised work environments and thus provide reinforcement to companies to maintain nonMcDonaldized practices. However, perhaps due to his allegiance to universal structures and Weber’s assumption of the inevitable spread of rationalisation and bureaucracy, Ritzer portends that even those companies that succeed in their initial resistance to McDonaldization will succumb to its forces in order to grow and persist in capitalist economies. The McDonaldization thesis thus backs into a fatalist conclusion for inevitable loss of what he nostalgically holds up as producing better products, more humane working conditions and a better world – all at the hands of universal structures arising from the same pool of logic as Marxian labour process theory. For Ritzer, these ideal-typical components are not active only in labour venues, but also throughout society – thus amplifying and extending central components of Braverman’s thesis across labour, consumption, leisure, etc. The result is an ideal-typical construction of a Weberian ‘iron cage’ that is very difficult to ‘think out of’. Indeed, it matters very much what ideas one chooses to think with 59 (Foucault 1972, pp. 141-142; Foucault & Deleuze 1977, p. 208; Strathern 1992, p. 10), because even in a volume intended as criticism of the McDonaldization thesis, contributors and Ritzer himself demonstrate that academic resistance of the thesis and its tenets is largely ineffective when one attempts to do so from within the ‘iron cage’ itself (Smart 1999)! In fact, the strongest suggestions for resistance to the mindset of McDonaldization come when contributors suggest other ways of framing the problems set up in the thesis – an option I will take up in a subsequent section of this chapter, though not in the same frame as suggested in Smart’s collection (1999). It is the case, however, that the components of Ritzer’s ideal-typical McDonaldized corporation are valuable to describe the concrete concepts in this project. As indicated above, it is certainly the case that TMTL exhibits the effects of anonymous forces for greater efficiency, predictability, calculability and control. However, due to the assumed existence of universal power, resistance and subjects who are simply victims of these forces, there are aspects of McDonaldization that block and even preclude the possibility of a detailed inspection of the production of subjectivity. c. Richard Sennett: Corroding Character Sennett (1998) also alludes to Braverman’s decrying of the deskilling and degradation of work through continuous rationalisation, and development and implementation of equipment to technologise and replace human knowledge and skill, with a resulting loss of potential for growth in one’s career through organisational reduction of work to simple ‘jobs’.30 However, he also shares with 30 Sennett refers to the linguistic roots of career and job. Career is related to a progression and advancement through one’s professional life – a characterisation consistent with Hughes’ and his 60 Braverman and Marx the point that technology is not bad in and of itself; rather it is the application of technology that exemplifies the all too commonly realised potential for deskilling and degrading work – a potential invariably taken up by capitalist businesses. Sennett does admit, however, to the possibility that technology may be implemented so as to increase and amplify the worker’s knowledge and creative authority over aspects of a process (while at the same time allowing that the owner of the means of production also gains in a capitalist sense). Additionally, for Sennett, as for labour process theory, the thoroughgoing rationalised and technologically-regulated processes have the side effect of limiting options for workers to those things that are afforded by the rationalised and technology-mediated processes themselves – assuming that capital’s power ensures only certain actions are possible within such models of work. Thus, while a worker’s knowledge and skill may be considerable, it is only applicable when the technological and rationalised job designs permit it to be applied. Since the rationalised job is designed to reduce a worker’s knowledge, skill and discretion over the application of one’s knowledge and skill, the worker is left with little or no creative outlet. Sennett also shares with Ritzer and Braverman a reliance on universal structure and loss of independent authority over one’s knowledge and skill as a result of the steady and theoretically unstoppable motion of rationalisation in modern work and social life. However, like Braverman, Sennett suggests workers can recover some of what is lost through the separation of personal discretion from one’s skill and knowledge through recovery of the potential of worker conflict against capital and a reinfusing of collectivism into labour ideology – advice that appeals to the Marxist expectation that collective resistance against capital is the only means to followers’ studies of ‘professions’ (Abbott 1993; Hughes 1964b; Hunt 2004), while job is related to a straightforward application of technique without a similar opportunity for institutionalised paths for professional advancement. 61 successful change – a treatment consistent with the Marxist and labour process theory perspective that considers universal structures and power as property of capital, and revolt as labour’s only tool in a zero-sum game over control of that property. Thus, Ritzer and Sennett share with orthodox labour process theory and attempts to reintroduce the subject to labour process theory, a reliance on belief in universal structures and ineluctable power that arises as a result of one’s relation to the means of production. Power wielded by capital is invariably seen as a negative force on account of its structurally inevitable use to deskill and degrade work and the worker unless workers (and consumers in Ritzer’s view) unite in resistance to overpower it and restore independent authority to workers (and consumers) themselves. All of these demonstrate allegiance to the main structural dualisms of Marxism: power/powerless, object/subject and control/resistance – three things that cement the theorist and researcher in the structures that produce these dualisms themselves. As will be elaborated and demonstrated below, other views of power, especially those developed and applied by Foucault, provide the ability to analyse power not as a comprehensive force arising from structure, but as a product of heterogeneous forces, some of which are activated by the subjects themselves and thus alterable by the subjects themselves (Foucault 1980b, 1983, 1984a, 1995; Miller, P. 1994; Rabinow & Rose 2003; Townley 1993). This perspective affords the analyst with tools for considering subjectivity in ways inaccessible with a more conventional, Marxian view. That said, within labour process theory, the concept of deskilling is valuable to this project. As will be shown in Part 2 of this report, it is the case that capital has indeed expended considerable effort and expense in order to rationalise and exert 62 control over the delivery of service in TMTL. However, the simple construction of the subject only in terms of one’s relation to the means of production erects a barrier to more detailed inspection of the production of subjectivity. Similarly, the idea that resistance is a force that is always directed against capital is problematic because, as will be shown, workers do not always exert resistance in an obviously contrary way. Consequently, while there are some valuable components of labour process theory, McDonaldization and the corrosion of character, assumptions over the existence of universal structures embedded in these theoretical constructs impede and even preclude a detailed analysis of subjectivity in TMTL. Some feminist theorists also reflect the thoroughgoing belief in universal structures, but offer unique other perspectives that help to illuminate the production of subjectivity. Other feminist theorists adopt a more Foucaultian perspective. Both types of feminists offer ideas and formulations that can contribute to the aims of this research. In the following section I will briefly inspect some of these feminist theories, primarily those produced by Dorothy Smith (Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1987b, 1990a, 1990c, 1996, 1999b), Arlie Hochschild (Hochschild 1985) and Donna Haraway (Haraway 1990, 1991b, 1991c, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c). 2. Feminist Theory An organised feminist literature and theory made its entry into social science literature beginning in the 1960s, though various feminist-oriented social movements occurred much earlier, including the emancipation of slaves in the U. S. from roughly the mid 19th century, and the suffragette movement in the U. S. in the early 20th century; work describing and analysing the status and production of woman as a 63 class and gender existed earlier, but more or less without official presence in the social science literature of its day (Adams & Sydie 2002c; Haraway 2004b, 2004c). These various movements were spurred by female scholars and members of oppressed groups before there was a recognisable ‘feminist’ movement (Adams & Sydie 2002c). In the 20th century in particular, the work of Simone de Beauvoir is said to underpin much of the present day women’s movement and its premise that ‘female’ and gender do not refer to a universal biological or structural category, rather that these concepts are socially produced such that women are relegated to particular roles that always find them under- or unrepresented politically and socially (Adams & Sydie 2002c). In Marxism, this is explained structurally through one’s relation to the means of production. Women are usually excluded from the production role and placed into a biological reproduction role, that is, the ‘production’ of the next generation of the working class and their labour in support of the male who occupies the production role. While it is the case that women have played the role of a reserve labour force, such as during war times when women are called upon to take up factory work when many or most men are called into military service, this is not the norm under Marxist theory. Instead, women are situated in domestic labour that, while having use value, has little exchange value in capitalist economics, thus keeping women structurally outside of conventional Marxist economic and labour-oriented arguments for social change. As such, orthodox Marxism both includes accounts for women’s social position and at the same time excludes them from political activity through which women can affect their own or others’ positions in society, except through their role in the production of next generation of the working class. Additionally, as indicated above, Marxist theory orients to abstract structures and economic laws as the basis of 64 its positions. Thus, the theorist is afforded a detached position that, as in the natural sciences, is supposed to afford a privileged view over the workings of society – a view that is not achievable by the actual members of society. Thus, while Marx provided an accounting for the position of women in capitalist society, his was never a ‘feminist’ accounting – that is, one that focuses on women alone – because it doesn’t address women in any manner other than the relation of women to the means of production through their relation to men. That is, while it is the case that women have played the role of a reserve labour force, women are ‘normally’ considered to occupy the position of unpaid domestic labour at home (cooking, cleaning, child rearing) in the service of facilitating the dedication of man’s labour to ‘productive work’. In Marxist perspectives the woman is defined in terms of her role and the relation of that role to man’s structural relation to the means of production. However, contemporary feminist theory shares with Marxism that theory should play an emancipatory role. It does this through three particular orientations: (a) taking a special interest in women’s perspectives; (b) problematising and interrogating social concepts and constructs from the woman’s perspective; and (c) based on the above, actively seeking avenues for producing change toward a more equitable social world. These orientations are not only related to the sociological study of society but also to the criticism of and action upon sociological theory (Adams & Sydie 2002c). This dual focus on both society and sociological theory itself is considered by feminists to be necessary based on the overwhelming dominance of ‘dead, white, males’ in the canon of sociological theory – a virtual exclusion of women – and its production of ‘master narratives’ that, as noted above, 65 provide tools to think with that effectively constrain thought and possibilities not accounted for within them.31 Among the early targets for titular feminist studies was the dominance of structural functionalist theory in mainstream American sociology in the middle 20th century. In this body of theory, the status quo of American society was seen to be a stable product of existing practices, values, roles, etc. in society. These existing practices, etc. were considered to be functional in the production of stable and orderly modern society simply by their existence in it. Since women did not typically hold influential political and social roles, their ‘function’ in structural functionalism was marginalised to the ‘expressive role’ of childrearing (Parsons 1949, 1951). Feminists criticised this as one of the ‘master narratives’ that simultaneously accounted for and justified women’s subordination to the male-oriented, corporate and ‘instrumental role’ in modern society (Adams & Sydie 2002c). Functionalist/structuralist theory indicated that the woman’s expressive role was considered to be functional in that it was thought to reduce conflict in the nuclear family, thus providing support to the dominant male head of household – with the effect, like Marxist theory, of relegating women to a support role. It is also the case that, contrary to one of the ideals of feminism noted above, the research methods of structural functionalism gave priority to aggregate data over ethnographic accounts and thus discounted the importance of individual experience. In so doing, structural functionalism eliminated the subject from analytic interest in favour of the social science object – mathematical manipulation of an aggregate of 31 It is not actually the case that women have had no place in sociological theory. Simone de Beauvoir, Harriet Martineau, Marianne Weber (wife of Max Weber) and Jane Addams played important roles in its history. However, the ‘master narratives’ put in place by dominant males in the field have relegated their work to footnotes. While contemporary textbooks are now including sections on the important work and theories generated by women (Adams & Sydie 2002a, 2002b; Giddens & Duneier 1999) it is still the case that the work of early feminists is underrepresented in textbooks on fundamental sociological theory. 66 data. It is also the case that the methodology favoured by structural functionalism, like that of Marxism, cast the researcher as an independent and objective observer of society, external to its actual production, and positioned the researcher as the only figure who could produce authoritative social theory. Both of these effectively eliminate any opportunity for the voices of individual members of society to be used in producing social theory, or for ‘speaking for themselves’ in the production of theory – the researcher must always speak for them. For the feminist scholar, problematising this dominant relation of the male, patriarchal, wage-earning and independently authoritative researcher – thus altering the means of producing social theory – is as important as providing voice to women and other under- or unrepresented groups in their ‘everyday/everynight’ experience in society. Efforts to introduce feminist concepts into the sociology of labour have worked to redress the absence of the subject and subjectivity in various ways. As Burawoy reintroduced the subject into labour process theory, so did Cynthia Cockburn, though through a feminist lens (Cockburn 1983). Her work on the production of ‘gendered work’ in the printing industry will be detailed below. Following an interactionist perspective, albeit also carrying the labour process orientation of deskilling and capital’s power of labour, Arlie Hochschild detailed the process and theorised the social effects of converting emotion into a ‘product’ of customer-facing work (Hochschild 1985). As described below, she theorises how capital’s appropriation of the worker’s emotions for its own gain fractures the imputably authentic relation of a subject with her emotions, and in so doing sets the conditions for the production of a new subject and subjectivity that ‘belongs’ to capital (Hochschild 1985). The feminist perspectives on ‘gendered work’ as reflected in both Cockburn’s and Hochschild’s research provide unique examples of how the 67 subject can be characterised in labour. As described below, they also highlight unique and persistent problems associated with a labour process orientation, while at the same time providing relevant perspectives and theoretical formulations that can support the aims of this research. Dorothy Smith adopts an interactionist and ethnomethodological orientation to problematise the production of meaning, place of women in society and even the processes of social science itself (Smith, D. 1987b, 1990a, 1990c, 1999b). She targets the means of producing texts as mechanisms for producing a reality that has come to replace our experiences in the social world – realities that rely on techniques of abstracting lived social reality into categories, the aggregated contents of which can be counted and arranged into tables, graphs, etc. such that the lived experience of social actors is removed from inclusion in official forms of social Knowledge and representations of social theory (Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1987b, 1990a, 1990c; 1999b, pp. 73-95). As will be shown below, this problematising orientation to the stable ethnomethods (practices) involved in the production of social knowledge and theory provides a very useful tool for analysing TMTL. Additionally, Smith goes beyond Cockburn and Hochschild to suggest tactics and strategies for altering what she calls the ‘ruling relation in society’ – the dominant and male-oriented epistemology of social science theory and methodology – produced through the use of these methods (Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1987b, 1990a, 1990c, 1999b). As with labour process theory and the work of Cockburn and Hochschild, as described below, Smith’s formulations provide useful perspectives and tools that can support and further the aims of this research. The philosophy of Michel Foucault has been influential in contemporary feminist theory since nearly its beginning. Of particular interest to some feminists, 68 and in direct contrast to influences from Marxian or other structuralist theory, Foucault rejected views that rely upon universal concepts of any sort (Sawicki 1994).32 For example, while Marx and labour process theory rely on the universal concept of socio-economic class as the basis of order and conflict in society, and Marxist feminists equate patriarchy with class as the central universal force(s) in the oppression and repression of women in society, Foucault’s work demonstrates that there are always local, and not universal, factors at work in the production of subjectivity (Foucault 1990a, 1990b, 1993, 1995). Additionally, for Foucault, power in society does not arise from universal structures nor can it be ‘owned’ as a unary substance (as in Marxism, where power is essentially owned by capital as a function of its relation to the means of production): Power is not a substance ... Power is only a certain type of relation between individuals. Such relations are specific, that is, they have nothing to do with exchange, production, communication, even though they combine with them (Foucault 1981, p. 324). In this view any appearance of universal factors is actually only the product of relatively stable social relations. Knowledge of this ‘object’ has come about through the institutionalisation, thus stabilisation, of particular forms of knowledge production. At the same time, it is the case that Foucault problematised the liberal enlightenment view that social history describes a steady if gradual progression of increasing liberty and freedom for citizens, and instead forwarded the observation that it describes the rise of specific, usually scientific and technical, forms of producing Knowledge and ‘truth’ about individuals and populations. These new 32 By her own account, Ruth Sawicki is perhaps the first feminist to take up Foucault’s work in her research (Sawicki 1991b). 69 forms of producing Knowledge that effect power and affect the creation of subjects of that Knowledge do so through tactics that hide their own workings by implying that scientific or technical forms of producing Knowledge are totally objective and the subject oneself is solely responsible for the ‘truth’ of this Knowledge (Foucault 1983, 1988c, 1988d, 1990a, 1991a; 1993, esp. fn 4; 1994a, 1995; Sawicki 1994). This latter assumption is manifested as an assignment of ‘responsibility’ for the subject to know oneself in terms of this Knowledge and to use it in fulfilling the truth immanent in it: All the practices by which the subject is defined and transformed are accompanied by the formation of certain types of knowledge, and in the West, for a variety of reasons, knowledge tends to be organized around norms and forms that are more or less scientific. There is also another reason maybe more fundamental and more specific to our societies. I mean the fact that one of the main moral obligations for any subject is to know oneself, to tell the truth about oneself, and to constitute oneself as an object of knowledge both for other people and for oneself. (Foucault 1993, fn 4) Sawicki indicates that these same concerns exist in contemporary poststructuralist feminism – a desire to problematise the means through which Knowledge is produced and used in the creation of a subject that appears to instantiate what is true and universal, but which under inspection discloses very selective processes to which only certain persons – the ‘scientists’ and technicians that wield them – have access (see also, Haraway 2004a; Latour & Woolgar 1990; Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1990a, 1990c).33 Foucault’s work is accessible and useful to feminist theorists principally because his work is “self-consciously presented as interventions in specific struggles of ... groups such as homosexuals, prisoners, and mental patients” (Sawicki 1994, p. 290) – all of whom are characterised as groups who are left without voice in 33 It is, however, important to note that a Foucaultian problematising of universals is not consistent across all feminist theory or theorists (Adams & Sydie 2002c; Cockburn 1983; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Munger 2002; Wardell 1999; West, J. 1990). 70 conventional social science. Additionally, his interest in the body and mind as a site for political action is reflected in the interests of some post-structuralist feminists. In particular, this group of feminists tend to focus on the 1970s work of Foucault in identifying hegemonic systems of discourse and the production of knowledge and ‘truth’ about people without their participation except as objects of analysis. This parallels much of Foucault’s work that is of interest to the aims of this study. Regarding the subjection of women in society, and unlike that of Marxian and other structuralist feminists, the Foucaultian perspective indicates that such effects are not necessarily the doings of a conspiracy or the actions of some universal and structural laws against which there is no escape. That is, even though the behaviours manifested in society are in many ways an intentional choice on the part of social actors, it is not necessarily the case that one can say that all of the outcomes of those actions are intentional – using Foucaultian terminology, it is an ‘intentional but not subjective’ effect – people are not always aware of the ‘doings of their doings’, or what their doings make possible in the future. People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does. (Foucault, in Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, p. 187) With an eye toward proactive social change, this requires that members of society be made aware of such effects and their own complicity in them before such doings can be altered by them. This latter point is contrary to Marxism and consistent with the aims of feminism listed above – productive change is not something that comes from the recovery of a transcendental truth or by following some structural model. Instead, it comes when individuals themselves act to ensure that their voices are added to the discourse such that they are no longer subjected to relations that 71 marginalise them and their knowledge (Haraway 1990, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; Smith, D. 1990a, 1992; Townley 1994). Additionally, while it is possible to read Foucault’s research – particularly ‘Discipline & Punish’ (Foucault 1995) – as accounts of the progression of increasingly specific repressive and oppressive forces, Sawicki notes this is in keeping with Foucault’s intention to avoid producing universalising advice (thus, avoiding a ‘backing into a universal philosophy of events and similarly universal responses). Thus, on both accounts noted here, Foucault writes so as to provoke the reader to take up the problems detailed in his research within the reader’s local situation – local tactics with local aims that seek out specific forces in their local configurations, and in so doing egging on, or making the reader part of the process for introducing other knowledge in ways that effect local change (Haraway 1990, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; Sawicki 1994, p. 295; Smith, D. 1990a, 1992). By writing to expose the nature of Knowledge and power as highly distributed and fragmentary, even while it appears as a stable and institutionalised structure, Foucault provides a model to feminists who aim to deconstruct the way power is produced and manifested in society – as opposed to those who, as noted above, aim to locate power within particular universal structures that are external to the actions of members of society. By making members of society responsible for change in their own locally specific situations, he introduces the possibility for their creation of unique solutions that take advantage of what Foucault referred to as ‘spaces left free’ in any given discourse and the ‘tactical polyvalence of discourses’. In other words, Knowledge and power, and the ‘truth’ they produce, function at many levels and affect each other differently depending on local conditions. By identifying these local factors, one can act tactically in locations or ‘spaces’ within a 72 discourse that are relatively unconstrained to produce resistance toward relevant change that is more or less customised to the contingencies of local conditions (Foucault 1990a, pp. 98-102). However, by describing that power and subjectivity are products of distributed, heterogeneous and non-universal factors, it is possible for Marxist feminists to criticise that there is no location, individual, class, gender, etc. at which to direct resistance. That is, Marxian-oriented criticism desires to have some stable ground upon which to base their production and deployment of resistance. In contrast, the post-structuralist feminist Judith Butler (1990, p. 142) indicates that one can resist the notion of anthropological universals and instead see the subject as a production of the process in which she is involved, and that the result of the process is not an intentional act by anyone or any structural component of the process. As a result, agency and resistance are themselves components of power that can affect its ‘direction’ and its ‘downstream’ outcomes. Marxist feminists are said, by Butler (1990, p. 147), to have confused this production apparatus as a deterministic system as a result of a tendency to use binary Western (Cartesian and Hegelian) logic in order to understand such processes. This criticism is aimed at the conventional Marxian tradition that relies on such universals and binary oppositions.34 Instead, if the actor is found to be a product of particular practices and not the universal and inevitable effects of some structural condition, it is the practices and not the apparent structures they produce that are to be addressed in order to produce social change (Butler 1990, p. 145; Haraway 1990; see also, 34 That said, perhaps in keeping with the notion that practices become relatively stabilised in society and in so doing produce the appearance of structures (Haraway 2004a; Smith, D. 1987b), Butler indicates that since this Marxian, structuralist and power-as-universal, view is so prevalent in modern society it is very difficult to think in other terms (Butler 1990, p. 147)! 73 Knights 1990; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Knights & Willmott 1989; Smith, C. & Thompson 1999; Smith, D. 1990a; Townley 1993). Butler and Sawicki recommend politicising particular identities and using them to upset the dominant forms of gender (Butler 1990, p. 149; Sawicki 1991a, 1991b, 1994). Thus: ... to shift the focus of political analysis from the epistemological project of grounding political and social theories to analysing the production of certain forms of subjectivity in terms of their costs. (Sawicki 1994, p. 301) That is, by studying how institutionalised forms of power and knowledge are locally produced and then altering those forms at their points of production, local strategies and tactics for change can be developed and activated. Thus, poststructuralist and Foucaultian-inspired feminism provides new options for analysing the production of Knowledge, power, subjectivity and resistance that helps the analyst go past the universalising structures that characterise the theories noted above. They therefore provide an important addition to the theoretical armaments with which this project may be conducted. Several other prominent feminist researchers and critics have taken up Foucaultian theory in their work. Two of these are particularly relevant in this research, Donna Haraway and Barbara Townley, and will be described in more detail below. a. Cynthia Cockburn: Production of ‘Gendered Work’ As noted above, Cockburn’s (1983) study, published under the title “Brothers: Male Dominance and Technological Change” has been pointed up as research that attempts to (re)introduce the subject into labour process theory (Knights 74 & Willmott 1990a; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004). It is also cited as example of a project that forwards a feminist position within labour process theory. It does this by identifying and criticising the patriarchal forces that produce particular social subjects (the subordinated and oppressed woman, the dominant and ruling male) alongside of or within the structural relation to the means of production. Cockburn orients specifically to technology and the ways that workers themselves use it in reproducing particular gender relations in the workplace and hence (re)producing a social definition of ‘gendered work’ that reflexively justifies and reifies the supposedly ‘normal’ position of women in society. The study itself was conducted in the printing industry, and in particular in a particular job known as ‘compositing’ – the assembly of equipment and materials into a form that permits reproduction of printed pages.35 The study was conducted at a time when the job was in transition from one that required a considerable amount of apprenticeship-learned physical skill and knowledge to one that required primarily word processing skills. The former is said to have always been the domain of men; the latter is now conflated with traditional forms of ‘women’s work’. According to Cockburn, male compositors were put into a situation where they were increasingly unable to justify their dominion over the job, when the skill and knowledge it required were decreasingly reliant upon the skill and knowledge gained through apprenticeships – a development that follows from the continuous action of capital to deskill the work through rationalisation and the incorporation of technology, and a 35 This job, like many others in the printing industry, has been totally changed by the introduction of computers. At one time the job required the physical manipulation of pieces of metal onto which a relief of a letter was cast, into words, paragraphs, etc. Later, the job required the manipulation of special purpose computer-machine hybrids in order to produce camera films from which lithographic plates were produced, and from which the printed page was made. Later still, the job became what has been called ‘desktop publishing’. Through this succession of stages, in which computers gradually eliminated technical skill and knowledge from the process, the job changed from one requiring a considerable degree of technical skill and knowledge, to one that required only a modicum of technical training. In the terminology of Braverman (1974), the job was ‘deskilled’ and ‘degraded’. 75 development that opened the job to women who held word processing skills but did not have apprenticeship experience. Additionally, prior to the introduction of deskilling computer equipment, male compositors had enjoyed a fair degree of autonomy from management due to the worker’s substantial discretion over the use of skill and knowledge required in the job. Following the introduction of deskilling computer equipment, male compositors had lower task discretion – according to Cockburn, on a par with lesser-experienced women whose lesser skill and knowledge but ability to use the computer compositing equipment enabled management to drop pay rates for all compositors. In response, male incumbents in the job began to leverage social practices unmediated by the demands of the job, so as to defend their dominion in the job and the higher pay they had enjoyed prior to the introduction of deskilling technology. In particular, men exhibited chauvinist attitudes and behaviours so as to make it difficult for women to persist in the workplace even if they possessed the required skills and knowledge. Men justified their actions in terms of a defence of historical norms of the women’s childrearing and domestic labour in support of the dominant male breadwinner. Cockburn indicates the self-fulfilling prophecy of these beliefs and actions – by ‘defending’ the women’s traditional roles, male compositors prevent them from gaining the decreasingly important but still required apprenticeship experience to do the job, and thus maintain the traditional male-female job split. Through their action, the workplace remained a male only domain and incumbents built a hedge against the reduction of pay rates. In criticism of orthodox Marxism and labour process theory, Cockburn claims that power is not only an artefact of class and one’s relation to the means of production. Instead, power and its ability to produce subjectivity is actually 76 distributed through the workplace, its historical requirements, values and beliefs, and the historically held values, beliefs and culturally-stable ‘requirements’ from other social venues such as the home lives of male workers. For Cockburn, power is an artefact that arises from the socially produced but imputably universal gender relations that exist in society. She replaces class as the primary relation with chauvinist patriarchy and argues that this patriarchy is the mediator through which both labour and gender relations are produced. The male is powerful in this relation because of his already secured position in the workplace and ability to mobilise and manipulate other already existing social relations in his own defence. However, Knights (1990) criticises Cockburn’s study for sharing with Burawoy a ‘compensatory theory of behaviour’ that obscures central labour process theory arguments. That is, by psychologising the male compositors’ behaviour as a set of tactics that compensate for their relative powerlessness against capital’s inevitable moves to deskill and degrade the labour process, Cockburn forwards and amplifies the idea that the male compositors act so as to reassert and defend male dominion of the workplace by reifying the socially constructed role of women as domestic labour, while marginalising or dismissing the class relation that permitted management to deskill and degrade the work in the first place; if men can’t fight capital, they can at least fight the encroachment of women into ‘their’ workplace. The result is a skirmish that distracts labour from its ‘proper’ fight against capital and at the same time divides men and women and reduces the possibility they can unite in the fight against capital (Braverman 1974). That is, where Burawoy places ‘workplace games’ into a compensatory role that makes up for the workers’ alienation at work, Cockburn says that keeping women out of the printing shop compensates for the men’s relative weakness in the 77 labour process and acts to keep them ‘on top’ of their home and wife. Knights (1990) points out an obscured and unelaborated reliance on Marxist and orthodox labour process theory – that management and/or the owner of the means of production is really in charge and holds a dominant position over the worker, under which the worker is forced to adopt behaviours that only compensate for and do not alter the deskilled and degraded labour process imposed from above. This illustrates the durable view that power is still perceived to be linked to the structural relation to the means of production (class) such that actors are rendered relatively powerless in comparison. It is the case, however, that even the powerless in one relation is powerful in another – while men are powerless in relation to management, they demonstrate their power over women in the workforce. In either case, however, power is still depicted as something that arises in the structural relation to the means of production, it is just that derivative effects of the Marxian structural production of power is said to obscure its ‘real’ (per orthodox Marxist and labour process theory) location. The subject is seen to inevitably arise from this oppressive structural relation, and the power of capital includes its ability to distract labour so it acts in ways that only compensate for its oppression and never actually organise to defeat capital’s power in order to ‘free’ itself and recover its true transcendental position in society. While Burawoy and Cockburn both make moves to include subjectivity in the labour process debate, both also demonstrate an explanation of the behaviour of their informants that still appeals to some grand but anonymous structure. Knights (1990) projects that a corrective or complement to this is an analysis of subjectivity as an effect and exercise of power in response to existential situations. That is, subjectivity is both an influence on and an effect of action and structure. This is a perspective that 78 requires one to abandon notions of power as a structural artefact that can be owned, and instead to consider power as a medium and a product of action within stable social relations, a view that, as will be described in more detail below, begins to open the way for a Foucaultian view of power, subjectivity and resistance. b. Arlie Hochschild: Emotional Labour Adopting an interactionist perspective, but maintaining contact with Marxist and labour process theory critiques of capital’s power over labour, Hochschild provides an analysis of the encroachment of capitalist interests into the ‘caring’ professions, such that emotion and the application of ‘caring’ behaviours can be increasingly appropriated, scripted, programmed and regulated through institutional means of training, evaluation and the like (Cameron 2000; Hochschild 1985; Taylor, S. 1998). This parallels a documented decrease in the prevalence of new jobs in primary and secondary labour, and an increase in the prevalence of new jobs in tertiary labour that calls for the application of emotion or the appearance of ‘caring’ as a feature of the work. Consistent with forms of service work, the manner in which the work is performed – the extent to which a customer feels ‘cared for’ – becomes a primary discriminator between service providers. For example, it is reported that as many as ¾ of British companies have quality initiatives that involve the ‘improvement’ of quality through the processes Hochschild uses to distinguish emotional labour, as noted below (Taylor, S. 1998, pp. 86-87). Hochschild distinguishes emotion work from emotional labour. Emotion work is similar to that described by Goffman in ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’ (Goffman 1959), that is, the deployment of emotion largely for 79 personal aims. However, emotional labour is the appropriation and deployment of emotion for capitalist gains. In particular, three things separate emotion work from emotional labour (Hochschild 1985):36 1. Control and deployment of emotions as part of paid work for the purpose of increasing the surplus value of the work, thus aiding capital accumulation. 2. Control and deployment of emotions aimed primarily at affecting perceptions of the customer – that is, directed outwardly. However, it may also refer to affecting the worker’s ‘deep’ emotional states as expected by the employer so the employee genuinely feels the emotions that have been appropriated by the organisation. 3. Control and deployment of emotions involves attempts by the organisation to prescribe, supervise and measure the performance of emotional labour. With these three differences between emotion work and emotional labour, Hochschild demonstrates that not only can physical labour be appropriated by capital and inserted into the labour process, but the emotions of the worker can also come to be ‘owned’ by capital and then deployed by workers in the accomplishment of profitproducing service work. For Hochschild, power is represented in the institutionalised rules and practices of an organisation that appropriate the worker’s knowledge and skill – in this case emotion and feeling and the ability to demonstrate emotion and feeling in ways that serve the individual’s immediate goals. That is, through these structural and Marxian or labour process concepts – relation of the worker to one’s employer – 36 As will be shown in Part 2 and Part 3 of this report, all three of these obtain in the organisations participating in this research. 80 the employer can be said to come to have power over the employee’s feelings and discretion to deploy those feelings. While Hochschild’s research focused specifically on flight attendants at several American airline passenger carriers (Hochschild 1985; see also, Taylor, S. 1998), her concepts have been applied in social scientific research of management practices (Callaghan & Thompson 2001, 2002; Hyman et al. 2003; Townley 1994), retail service (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b), food and leisure services (Sosteric 1996), and in call centres (Bain & Taylor 2000; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Callaghan & Thompson 2002; Deery, Iverson & Walsh 2002; Dormann & Zijlstra 2003; Fielding 2003; Holman, Chissick & Totterdell 2002; Hunt 2004; Knights & Odih 2000; Korczynski 2001; Mulholland 2002; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Wallace, Eagleson & Waldersee 2000; Zapf et al. 2003). Within emotional labour there are two variants. In surface acting the worker is said to only exhibit particular emotions in the delivery of services while maintaining his or her own emotions, albeit hiding them. In deep acting the worker is said to actually come to have the emotions exhibited. The latter follows an interactionist model of emotion in which living (or recalling or conjuring) a context of experience is thought to effect the emotion itself, rather than an instrumentalist model in which the emotion is thought to be independent of the context. In both surface acting and deep acting the worker’s emotion is effectively separated from the context in which ‘genuine’ feeling is said to occur, because the worker is expected to reproduce the behavioural appearance of emotions in places where it is commercially useful. In so doing, the worker is said to come to feel the emotions affected for her 81 employer’s gain – thus separating the worker from her genuine emotions (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Hochschild 1985; Ritzer 2000b; Taylor, S. 1998). In corporations, this is commonly accomplished through the development and deployment, through training, coaching, counselling and other psychologicallyinformed tactics, of scripts and ‘styles’ for communicating with customers (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Hochschild 1985; Winiecki 2004b) and combinations of covert and overt practices of surveillance, evaluation rubrics and rewards or punishments for compliance or non-compliance with the organisationally-mandated scripts and styles (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Hochschild 1985; Winiecki 2004b). As will be shown starting in Part 2 below, it is almost universally the case that call centres impose scripting and styling of agent’s emotions such that the actions of an agent can be evaluated against company rules and rubrics defining the scripts and styles. That is, the organisationally mandated scripting defines the baseline of acceptable performance. Any perceived variation from that baseline may then be considered deviant or unacceptable performance on the part of the employee. In this way, the organisation can rate an employee’s display of emotions in relation to the rule – through this apparatus of scripting, styling, and gaze over it to facilitate examinations and the production of Knowledge and ‘truth’ about workers, etc. the organisation not only produces power over the employee’s emotions and deployment of emotions but also exercises power to evaluate one’s use of emotions. Because having and deploying one’s feelings is thus taken away by the organisation and installed into scripts, styles and organisational evaluations, resistance can only be accomplished by reappropriating one’s feelings and discretion over deployment of those feelings. However, in doing so, the organisation can demonstrate in its evaluations that the worker is in violation of the organisation’s 82 definitions for appropriate use of feelings in a commodity relation – in violation of a manufactured ‘truth’ about the way she should behave – the worker’s attempt to reappropriate one’s own emotions and deployment of the emotions is stymied by the institutionalised authority of the organisation because, under emotional labour, the subject comes to be produced by the organisation’s rules for using emotions and the worker’s compliance with those rules. What was imputably a ‘genuine’ emotion for the worker is now illegitimate in the eyes of the organisation. The organisationally defined emotions and uses of emotions are now considered the only legitimate and ‘genuine’ emotions that can be had. Hochschild (1985), Cameron (2000), and du Gay (1996b) all demonstrate that emotional labour can have adverse effects on the comfort and motivation of employees, and even on their ability to maintain a ‘convincing’ display of emotional labour. While drawing upon an interactionist modelling of emotions as a product of contextual experience, the concept of emotional labour is also cast within a Marxian framework implying that workers are increasingly subject to the power immanent in one’s universal and structural relation to the means of production (even where production refers to emotions and the delivery of service) and that resistance, even when exhibited, is easily defined as deviance that is both quickly and officially isolated and controlled by management. However, as will be shown below, it is also the case that workers regularly flaunt the scripting and styling imposed by organisations such that they unofficially reappropriate their own subjectivity in ways that are invisible to the organisation, and thus un-policeable by their employers. Additionally, it is also the case that employees regularly intervene in ways that sometimes aid colleagues in mitigating deep feeling and sometimes actually amplify the employer’s pressures to accomplish 83 deep feeling. In so doing colleagues demonstrate that they can both produce a support network and also participate and extend the organisation’s power (Bain & Taylor 2000; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Taylor, P. & Bain 2003). Finally, those responsible for performing quality evaluations will occasionally impose their own independent judgement – in excess of that inscribed in the rules – when performing quality evaluations. This effectively permits employees to violate the organisation’s scripts and styles while their colleagues produce official inscriptions of having been in compliance with the rules. These practices impede the organisation from fully controlling the emotional labour of employees (Winiecki 2004b). Thus, while Hochschild’s (1985) concept of emotional labour provides a useful tool for analysing several components of the workplace and the production of subjectivity in TMTL, it also rests upon assumptions that limit a researcher from investigating subjectivity and the place and authority of resistance. That said, the concept of emotional labour orients to the experience of work itself – a central component of a feminist sociology and a component of labour all but excluded in orthodox Marxist and labour process theory. It thus collects a set of constructs appropriate for inclusion in this project – a study of subjectivity and subjectification in TMTL. c. Dorothy Smith: Textual Forms & the Ruling Relation Providing voice and a ‘sociology for women’ is a primary aim of Dorothy Smith (Adams & Sydie 2002d; Smith, D. 1999b). Among other things, but particularly relevant to this project, she has studied and criticised the dominant 84 discourse of ‘male’ society and its rendering of social statistics, ‘important’ details, etc. in forms of writing – particularly in tables, graphs and other scientific forms of writing (Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1990c, 1999b). It is particularly through technical forms of inscription that Smith sees the production of a ‘bifurcated consciousness’ (Smith, D. 1987b, p. 89) that divides social science knowledge from the experience of actors – particularly women – in the social world. Power to produce society and social subjects is thus incorporated into particular historical practices that result in abstracted inscriptions of selected aspects of social life that come to signify not only evidence of, but also a functional justification for those historical practices (Smith, D. 1974, 1984).37 Additionally, by presenting power as a concept that is effectively owned by one entity (in this case, the corporate or official and ‘masculine’ perspective of social science) and kept away from other social entities (in this instance females and other under-represented or unrepresented groups), Smith also demonstrates the obscured influence of structuralist ideas in the dominant and ‘male’ social science, and the production of an institutionalised dualism that foregrounds particular Knowledge and marginalises, obscures or illegitimises ‘other’ ways of experiencing and knowing the world. A bifurcated consciousness refers to two different ways of ‘knowing, experiencing and acting – the one located in the body and in the space that it occupies and moves into, the other passing beyond it. (Smith, D. 1987b, p. 82) From the standpoint of women, and in a feminist social science, the subject is located in a ‘material and local world,’ a world ‘directly experienced from oneself as centred’ (in the body). This is in contrast to a world ‘organized in the abstracted conceptual mode, external to the local and particular places of one's bodily existence’ 37 Smith’s feminist conception of ‘ruling relations in society’ is much more broadly based than this (Smith, D. 1990a, 1999b). For the purposes of this argument I am focusing on only selected components of her work. 85 (Smith, D. 1987b, p. 84). The abstract, conceptual mode is a masculine mode that sociology, conceived of as a scientific discipline, produces and reifies through its methodology. The ‘ethic of objectivity and the methods used in its practice’ separate the known from the knower, especially from the knower’s interests or ‘biases’ that are not authorized by the discipline (Smith, D. 1990a, p. 16). This ‘ethic’ flows from the ‘truth’ that is said to arise in the norms and forms of scientific practice, and comes to regulate that practice and ways of thinking within science itself (see also, Haraway 2004a). It is through its allegiance and even dependence upon the textual forms of the dominant (male) world and the exclusion of other forms of knowing, that conventional forms of sociology obscure their own orientation to that dominant world and impede a feminist or more egalitarian accounting and theorising of society and social action. Thus, power immanent in the canonical social science practice of using abstracted data and aggregate counts of abstracted data renders problematic the chance for emancipatory discourse in conventional sociology. For Smith the ‘correction’ of this allegiance to a dominant, male-oriented and objectifying scientific discourse is to return the voices of individuals to social science. Thus, for Smith, methodological resistance to the power immanent in particular historical practices and their inscription into official records is manifested by giving priority to the voice of members of the social venue and effectively taking voice away from the official institutionally inscribed forms and norms. This illuminates an orientation to a structuralist dualism where resistance is accomplished through practices that take power away from one’s adversaries (Smith, D. 1990b, esp. pp. 10-57). By favouring the voices of members of society rather than the dominant scientific discourse of sociological theory, Smith envisions the production of a sociology that studies 86 ‘society in the making’, thus a “method of inquiry, always ongoing, opening things up, discovering,” and having relevance for the “politics and practice of progressive struggle, whether of women or of other oppressed groups” (Smith, D. 1992, p. 88). For Smith, while textual forms are a primary means of representing power in the dominant practice of social science – tax records, census data, licenses, test scores, employee evaluations, etc. – it is the movement of the abstracted knowledge encoded into these forms into practice in institutions of society (government, schools, family life, working life) that permits the patriarchally-oriented nature of these forms to embed themselves into everyday practices of social thought and activity. Texts bring a virtual reality to the world of individuals – a reality produced as the master narrative of society. The sociologist who uses these texts as primary data, rather than using ethnographic accounts of social issues, is transparently pulled into a relation in which he or she both reifies and extends the master narrative of society immanent in the way these data are abstracted from society and recombined into new forms of official Knowledge. As alluded above and as will be demonstrated below, Smith’s methodological orientation of problematising the imputed truth value of these inscriptions and the institutional forms they produce and support provides the researcher and the subject in society with a unique perspective on the production of subjectivity – an important component of this project. Also, and consistent with labour process theory and theories that draw from its structuralist formulations like Ritzer’s McDonaldization, Smith argues that in contemporary business and industry, while functions are increasingly differentiated for efficiency, it is the case that system functions are increasingly communicative and ‘informational’38 and thus mediated by textual forms. Communication is 38 What Zuboff (1988) would call ‘informating’. 87 increasingly dependent on the assemblage of indirect knowledge asserted as ‘fact’, and organisational functions are increasingly dependent upon generalised systems that use organisational rules to partition individuals into institutional categories and then make them individually evaluate-able against those rules – what can be called ‘totalising’ and ‘individualising’ (Foucault 1995, pp. 170-194; Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1987b, 1990a, 1990b, 1992, 1999b; Townley 1994). All of these concepts are particularly useful in terms of this project, especially following the substantial array of textual forms produced by the automatic and manual surveillance made possible through the ACD and covert barging of calls for quality evaluation. This will be addressed in more detail in Part 2, below. This research agrees that textual forms increasingly dominate the modern organisation and the production of indirect and increasingly decontextualised Knowledge. This is continuously reified and deepened by ongoing efforts on the part of the organisation to incorporate technology to replace or regulate knowledge and skill, and to rationalise or divide complex tasks into simple and highly programmed bits that require less skill to perform and permit hiring of lower paid unskilled labour, all of which produces an increasingly indirect, abstracted and data-centric view of the work and worker, and further renders as illegitimate the incorporation of experiential knowledge on the part of members themselves. The result is the production of an official subjectivity in social science that favours the abstracted data collected in inscriptions and disfavours individual voices of those who experience the events that come to be abstracted and inscribed – who, for Smith, are usually female or from members of other under- or unrepresented groups. Consistent with Smith’s insistence that social science research must (re)introduce the individual’s experience, this research also adopts a highly 88 ethnographic perspective that focuses on the experiences of individuals in the relations that obtain in TMTL. Smith also advocates for problematising the ‘ruling relations’ produced through inscribed and organisationally official forms. Doing so produces a perspective that focuses the analyst on an important part of the official relations in which an individual’s experiences and the production of social relations occur (Smith, D. 1974, p. 265ff). This research combines an ethnographic perspective with a focus on the production of textual forms that characterise TMTL in order to illustrate the effect of the latter on the former and vice versa, and, as will be demonstrated in Part 3 of the report, the subjects’ continuous ability to exercise authority and resist even in the face of such imputably authoritative power. d. Donna Haraway: The Cyborg A biologist by professional preparation, but now self-categorised as a socialist feminist, Donna Haraway has developed the concept of ‘cyborg’ – a part biological, part technological hybrid created by forces at the cusp of change in contemporary society. She draws from history to give examples of cyborgs; for example, women taken as wives by Spanish Conquistadors during Spain’s colonisation of Mexico (women who were at the point of generation of the new Spanish/Mexican society), of African slaves in antebellum America who defied laws prohibiting them from learning to read and write (and in so doing took for themselves the ability to speak the voice of oppressed others in the development of American society) and the ‘Oncomouse’, a laboratory animal biologically engineered to suffer from cancer for the purpose of oncological research (Haraway 1990). These 89 cyborgs are all hybrids of biological form and new technologies of various kinds (Haraway 1990, pp. 156, 176). As a hybrid, the cyborg is an entity produced both from stable historical meanings and the introduction of new technology into society. Haraway hypothesises that, as such, the cyborg is not necessarily bound by the historical and socially constructed rules that might bind an entity arising solely from one of its parts (the Mexican wife of a Spanish Conquistador is a new social entity, neither a Mexican woman nor a Spanish wife; the literate slave takes up a position outside of what was socially prescribed for slaves; and the Oncomouse is neither a biologically ‘normal’ mouse nor a static piece of laboratory equipment). These cyborgs, these nonuniversal subjects are said to have the potential for producing a new and unique discourse that alters the formation and trajectory of Knowledge, and the potential for its application in society. In terms of this study, the call centre agent can also be viewed as a hybrid who is produced in and from his or her blending with technical apparatuses (computer and telecommunications technologies, databases, rules, technical forms of inscription and statistical rules for combining inscriptions to create meaning, etc.), and an entity who can speak from the experience in this apparatus – if provided with the voice to do so – to alter the constitution of meaning, ‘truth’ and possibilities for action. In addition, like Dorothy Smith, Haraway is critical of the production of Knowledge. However in her role as a biologist, she focuses on the production of Knowledge in scientific practice rather than in social and institutional practice. In an essay titled [email protected]_millenium” (Haraway 2004a), she describes the three essentials for scientific process as they were prototyped by Robert Boyle in the 17th century in his research leading to the development of the air pump – three 90 elements that are credited by philosophers of science with producing a methodology that literally manufactured the conditions for the rise of science by avoiding the political and religious processes that at that time controlled the production of truth:39 1. The development of material technology by which some observation leading to discovery or a technical feat is accomplished. 2. The development and use of a standardised literary technology (that is, forms of inscription) by which material technology can be communicated to those not direct witnesses to the technology’s operations. 3. The development and use of a standardised social technology that allowed experimenters to critique each other’s material technologies and descriptions so as to test/vet their ‘truth claims’. As an interconnected set of technologies, material, inscription methods and social processes that strategically, tactically and technologically avoided the political and religious processes normally involved in the production of truth, the nascent field of science and its practitioners were provided with an apparatus that permitted them to form their own society and an independent means for producing Knowledge and scientific truths. Technology, certain kinds of writing and certain kinds of vetting processes revolutionised – and even permitted – science, because they allowed the experimenter to avoid the intractable politics and religious battles that previously had to be fought in order to produce truth. ...only through the routinisation and institutionalization of all three technologies for establishing matters of fact could the [insertion of experimental and technical knowledge, into nature] be stably effected. (Haraway 2004a, p. 226) 39 As will be shown below, analogues to these practices exist in TMTL also. 91 In addition, a wholly new world was produced, one over which the male scientist held dominion – truth and Knowledge production belonged to him. The world of subjects and objects was in place, and scientists were on the side of the objects. Acting as objects’ transparent spokesmen, the scientists had the most powerful allies. As men whose only visible trait was their limpid modesty, they inhabited the culture of no culture. Everybody else was left in the domain of culture and of society. (Haraway 2004a, p. 225) That is, the male-oriented, detached, ‘objective’, formal mode of process, inscription and proof were officially separated from views of the particular, the contextual, and according to Haraway, the female-oriented mode of seeing and knowing. The male perspective became the objective and scientific perspective, and the female, contextualised perspective was officially proscribed from science – an official production of a ‘male’ perspective’ and official split between male and female ways of K/knowing. Like Smith, Haraway’s feminism is oriented at providing a means for returning voice to the female perspective of the particular, the contextual, and rendering that perspective into official ways of Knowing. However, Haraway’s problematising of this set of three technologies also allows one to see past the focus on inscriptions as characterised by Smith, and to consider the role of the scientist using technology as an important component of the production of meaning, the possibilities for subsequent action and the overall production of subjects and subjectivities. This presents the analyst with a useful orientation with which to study TMTL because, as noted above, it includes a focus on the physical and social technologies that are involved in the production of truth, Knowledge, power and subjects and combines them with an analysis of the local possibilities produced by freeing the voice of the cyborg. 92 By giving voice to a different way of knowing, Haraway proposes, a “more adequate” (Haraway 2004a, p. 233) form of science that includes not only the official Knowledge, but also a self-critical perspective on its contents and the way it is produced, and on the contextual forms of knowledge normally excluded from the discourse. This focus is shared by the present project, which aims to not only deconstruct the manifold apparatus by which official Knowledge of the subject is produced, but also to give voice to that subject so as to make one aware of the doings of doings in technical Knowledge production and how things can be made differently. The result can be the production of knowledge that acknowledges its agonistic character, and the importance of the subject and the subject’s experience in the production of Knowledge – a wrestling match between the objects of technical analysis and experiences of the subjects through which that analysis produces Knowledge and possibilities for action. The cyborg, an entity at the centre of this agonistic process, is an entity that has the ability to expose new forms of knowing by speaking from experience in a way relevant to the production of this new form of Knowledge and possibilities for action. In addition, the cyborg is able to speak from multiple locations in the discourse of Knowledge. According to Haraway, location is one’s position in a discourse (Haraway 2004a, pp. 236-237), though not simply a position manifest by labels (such as gender, ethnicity, race, class). It is a constructed place for objects, subjects and knowledge in the discourse that constitutes the ‘stable’ background and foundation upon which technical and scientific Knowledge is made possible, and in which new possibilities for action arise. But because this arises from a constantly shifting bed of K/knowledge and application of K/knowledge, location cannot be 93 taken as authentically ‘stable’. It is constantly shifting in its constitution and its meaning in order to make knowledge into Knowledge – just as the submerged features in a river are gradually altered over time and in so doing continuously affect the local and downstream geological and ecological features in the river in new ways. That is, location is not just there as a universal or structurally composed thing. It is always a social doing even if it predates one’s participation or is a doing that one is not readily aware of doing (see also, Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, p. 187). The cyborg is thus able to speak from both the inside of a discourse and from outside the discourse. The cyborg/subject of inside, male, official Knowledge who has cognitive knowledge and values or attributes that fall outside of the standardised, canonical ‘norms’ of Knowledge, is also one whose perspectives and experiences are useful for deconstructing the dominant discourse of Knowledge. Even so, in this case the outsider is still ‘inside’ so to say; the location of this outsider – this subject of knowledge – is still produced in relation to the dominant discourse. One is, thus, both outside and inside at the same time (see also, Foucault 1972, pp. 40-49; 1996c; Foucault 1997e). In this study, the call centre agent is a cyborg produced in and from his or her blending with technical apparatuses (computer and telecommunications technologies, databases, rules, inscriptions, examination practices, etc.), and an entity who can authoritatively speak from both inside the apparatus of Knowledge production and from outside of it. For Haraway, power is manifested in the technical workings of the methods through which Knowledge is produced, and what options for action it affords. In one example, power is manifested in the official and technical apparatus for producing scientific Knowledge as invented by Boyle, and which selectively excludes certain knowledge and perspectives while favouring others (Haraway 2004a). It is also the 94 case, however, that power is ‘accidentally’ influenced and manifested when other forms of knowledge are used to inform the interpretation of observations and inscriptions (Haraway 2004b). For example, Haraway describes how research in the socio-biology of primates was heavily influenced by the very different sociology-offamily literatures interrogated by American and Japanese primate researchers when they were formulating hypotheses, conducting research projects and producing theory to explain family behaviours of primates. While both American and Japanese researchers were arguably observing the same behaviours, American researchers concluded that primate families are organised around (American concepts of) male dominance and the provision of resources to sexually receptive females, while Japanese researchers produced theories of primate society that reflected values immanent in Japanese sociological research – in particular, that primate society, following Japanese theories of human society, was based on the mutual interdependence of autonomous agents. Thus, cultural and sociological concepts can be translated into scientific research such that the resulting theories vary widely, even though observations made and canonical methods of science are arguably the same for all. Just as the scientist is able to creatively influence theory, for Haraway, power may also be produced and exerted by giving voice to the ‘outsiders’, the marginalised others who are typically excluded in the production of Knowledge. This latter form of power can also be characterised as a form of resistance because it works to alter the apparatus through which Knowledge is produced. Having mentioned this, it is also important to note how resistance in a Foucaultian framework is very different than resistance in a Marxian or structuralist framework. In particular, whereas in a Marxian, labour process theory or other structuralist view, 95 resistance is a force aimed at removing, reversing or cancelling out the universal, oppressive power of capital in order to permit subjects to return to the ‘proper’ relation with their knowledge and skill – that is, by liberating the truth and the worker from the repression of capitalism – for Foucaultians, power and truth are in a different relationship than in Marxian theory. Also, rather than being opposed to power, as it is in Marxian theory, resistance is actually a form of power that works to rearticulate the way Knowledge and opportunities for action are produced (Foucault 1984b, 1988e). For Foucault, power and knowledge are fundamental to the construction and workings of society – both bourgeoisie and proletariat – while for Marx they are part of the superstructure of society as put in place by the bourgeoisie to maintain its advantage over the proletariat. As will be shown, a Foucaultian view of power and resistance provides the researcher and the subject oneself with a new array of resources for identifying opportunities for action and new visions of change compared to that provided by Marxian or strictly structuralist perspectives. For Haraway, as for Foucault, the subject is the product of apparatuses in which Knowledge is produced and in which power is exercised – including the subject’s own action in this relation and with the ‘truth’ produced by Knowledge and power. Because power and resistance are seen as related forces, though not always symmetrical, the subject is also produced in both the action of power and in the action of resistance. For Haraway, by providing the cyborg/subject with voice that can rearticulate the apparatuses through which Knowledge and power are produced, or by including previously ignored knowledge and experience in the production of Knowledge (that is, by providing for resistance), a subject can be produced who has the ability to reorient Knowledge in ways that reflect the subject’s knowledge. This, as will be shown below in the section on Foucaultian theory, is related to what 96 Foucault referred to as the taking up of ‘spaces left free’ in a given discourse, and reflects an avenue for producing change in the face of already established discourses (de Certeau 1985; Foucault 1972, pp. 72, 200, 205, 209ff; Michael & Still 1992). e. Barbara Townley: Applying Foucaultian theory to Human Resources Management The work of Barbara Townley represents an application of contemporary feminist variants of Foucault’s theories to the analysis of human resources management (HRM). In particular, she deconstructs HRM in order to demonstrate how it is an apparatus for (a) producing Knowledge in business settings, and (b) informing the production and application of rules, techniques, technologies, etc. to produce ‘manageable’ or ‘governable’ subjects (Townley 1993, 1994, 1995b, 1996, 1998). Townley focuses upon accounting practices as a principal means to generate organisational Knowledge of the worker that is then applicable in order to “reduce the indeterminacy involved in the employment contract” (Townley 1993, p. 518). In doing so, she focuses on methods of accounting in human resources management and how it is used as a continuous apparatus for producing Knowledge about subjects/workers and for informing the design, construction, implementation and application of rules, policies, etc. (that is, power), so as to (a) steadily increase the specificity of these rules, policies, etc. in light of local conditions in the workplace, and (b) continually act to influence the workers’ perceptions so as to ‘conduct their conduct’ without recourse to direct oversight and management control. 97 In other words, for Townley, human resources management utilises accounting methods as a tool for generating Knowledge and ‘truth’ about processes and employees and informing management of this Knowledge such that (a) labour process can be continually revised to improve its efficiency by altering the way an organisation partitions and disciplines time, space and worker activity, and (b) workers are trained, counselled, etc. to manage themselves without direct oversight from titular management personnel – inculcating the workers so they adopt the goals of the organisation and follow the ‘corporate epistemology’ immanent in the way HRM is accounted for, even when it is not explicitly defined (see also, Armstrong 1994; Bougen 1994; Deetz 1992; Findlay & Newton 1998; Hopper & Macintosh 1998; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Knights & Collinson 1987; McKinlay & Starkey 1998b; McSweeney 1994; Miller, P. 1994; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Rose, N. 1999c, esp. ch. 10; Townley 1995b; Willmott 1990). Townley indicates that this arises from a business’ desire for reliability, predictability and efficiency, while reducing the time and expense required to design and build technology that disciplines all of the nuances of labour activity (Townley 1993, pp. 518-519). This reflects the importance of portions of labour process theory and some components of Ritzer’s McDonaldization thesis (Ritzer 2000b) to this project. However, where these other views characterise the process as an inescapable relation to the means of production or an ‘iron cage’ of more or less coercive organisational controls, Townley’s application of Foucaultian and feminist concepts indicates that HRM utilises ‘softer’ tactics to inculcate workers into management’s mindset, with the goal of reducing the cost of management by shifting some of its burden of responsibility to the workers themselves. The result is a form of management or governance over workers that makes them responsible for 98 maintaining themselves as productive actors for the organisation – implicating them in the production and maintenance of power while at the same time giving them management responsibility – what Foucault refers to as the production and maintenance of ‘biopower’40 (Foucault 1990a, p. 140ff), or the harnessing and fashioning of human knowledge and activity for productive ends. Typically, ‘biopower’ utilises an interconnected set of tactics, including both ‘physical’ apparatuses such as the design of architecture, tools and technologies, etc. and more ‘psychological’ tactics such as training, counselling, coaching, etc. As Townley describes, HRM interventions typically focus upon the development and application of psychological technologies and techniques for increasing reliability and the efficient attainment of goals. In so doing, the deep catalogue of techniques provided by behaviourist psychology is called upon in convincing workers of their responsibility for maintenance of the organisation’s expectations as they are made visible through the difference between the organisation’s official Knowledge – statistical displays of ‘performance’, ‘productivity’, ‘quality’, etc. – and the workers’ knowledge of organisational expectations, rewards, punishments, etc. That is, means through which the subject is produced and put face to face with a ‘truth’ about one’s self in the eyes of the organisation, and expected to manage one’s self in terms of this manufactured ‘truth’. Townley’s point is that the subject comes to be produced through the heterogeneous assemblage of (a) Knowledge that is historically-embedded in behavioural psychology and its techniques (which include the production and application of hierarchical observations, inscriptions, normalising judgements and examinations), (b) local expertise on the part of management to customise generic 40 The concept of biopower will be detailed below. 99 behavioural psychology tactics to their specific venue and subjects, (c) management’s knowledge of the goals it has for employee behaviour and performance and (d) Knowledge and the application of Knowledge to produce the desired organisational effects (that is, power) (Townley 1993, p. 520). This is strikingly different from the subject as portrayed under structuralist Marxian or labour process theory. Instead of assuming a transcendent subject oppressed through universal structural relations, for Townley, as for Foucault, the subject is seen to be produced in the heterogeneous network of tactics that come from different locations both temporally and epistemologically (Foucault, Barou & Perrot 1980, p. 154; Townley 1993, pp. 520-521). Townley communicates this idea in the disarmingly brief but trenchant comment, “HRM techniques actively create reality” (Townley 1994, p. 139). With this new reality, workers are made amenable to a new constellation of management tactics that both produce Knowledge and ‘truth’, and utilise more facets of work and workers than previously possible: HRM provides measurement of both physical and subjective dimensions of labor offering a technology that renders individuals and their behavior predictable and calculable. In so doing, HRM helps to bridge the gap between promise and performance, between labor power and labor, and it organizes labor into a productive force. (Townley 1993, p. 526) Additionally, by producing the subject out of a composite of physical and psychological scientific Knowledge and local knowledge, bound together into a new reality through the operation and rationality of accounting practices rendered into statistical displays and other canonical forms, HRM makes it possible to assess workers and their actions in terms of a truth manufactured for its own ends. Workers are claimed to be comparable because they can be seen to be comprised of similar parts that are brought into being through abstracted observations, inscriptions, 100 judgements and evaluations, even though the imputed similarity of those parts is an artefact of their abstraction and inscription into forms that are manipulable through accounting processes. Similar to the outcome of the nascent science practiced by Boyle, as described by Haraway (2004a), simply by reproducing the practices that produced the newly rational whole in the first place, it is continuously reified and its ‘truth’ comes to be viewed uncritically as an empirical fact (Townley 1994, pp. 139140). As Townley describes, in the domain of HRM this is accomplished through the application of a set of practices through which workers are divided into subgroups that fulfil functional categories arising from the labour process, the development of metrics for evaluating workers in each subgroup, and inscription methods that abstract the action of workers into numeric form – processes abstractly similar to aspects of labour process theory and the production of scientific and technical Knowledge as noted in the theories described above. With this division of workers into subgroups and numeric abstractions of worker action in those subgroups, the actions of workers are made amenable to accounting techniques that permit the organisation to array the numbers that represent workers into rank orders and rating categories – tables and graphs that instantiate the canonical business data form of the spreadsheet. Once workers and workers’ actions are translated into spreadsheet-able and calculable forms, the people (or more properly, the numbers that have come to represent people) can then be managed using various methods prototyped in other forms of labour management such as scientific management, total quality management (TQM), just in time production (JIT), high performance teams, and the like (Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Bougen 1994; Foucault 1972, esp. pp. 50-55; 101 Hoskin & Macve 1994; Houlihan 2002; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 2003; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987; Rose, N. 1999d, esp. ch. 4; Taylor, F. 1947; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Townley 1994, 1995b, 1996; Walton 1985). Thus: HRM acts in four specific dimensions: it organizes populations; inscribes and controls activity and constitutes the individual as an object and subject of knowledge. Organizing material in this way allows for a range of seemingly disconnected practices to be integrated into a comprehensive whole which is not accessible using conventional classification systems of recruitment, appraisal, remuneration, etc. ... [A Foucaultian] analysis of HRM would trace systems of patterning within organizations ... focusing on how populations are partitioned; strategies for maintaining enclosure; the extent to which and how activity and time are articulated; and the technologies through which the individual becomes ‘known’. (Townley 1994, p. 143) That is, what never existed before is brought to exist through accounting techniques cast into HRM. Potential labour power is organised into productive labour through this process, and the subject is produced. This requires that the space and time within which work occurs and the work itself become divisible into units that can be later recombined for calculation of efficiencies, to permit comparison of individual workers against each other and against rules and goals. When workers become known in terms of accounting methods, they are made comparable to one another and it becomes possible for management to deploy other tactics to manage them. These tactics employ behavioural psychology in order to ‘responsibilise’ workers to accept and continually alter themselves in terms of these ‘truths’ about themselves, and take on the orientation of management and in so doing reduce the amount of direct oversight required by management over workers. Detailed training of workers, continuous counselling and other ‘confessional’ practices through which they are implored to adopt or exhibit particular orientations, reinforcement when they exhibit the ‘proper’ orientations, and punishment when they exhibit ‘improper’ orientations, are among these tactics. Additionally, counselling and confessional practices are means for management to collect detailed information 102 from workers that is not captured through the formal mechanisms connected with the division, observation, inscription, normalisation and examination practices noted above, and afford ‘softer’ means to bring workers into the desired orientation with the organisation’s expectations for worker behaviour. The result is a set of practices that continuously produce Knowledges of the workers and allows the organisation to influence the worker in both ‘hard’, technologically regulated ways, and ‘soft’, psychologically oriented ways – though always with an eye toward spreadsheet-like displays of performance, productivity and quality (see also, Rose, N. 1999c). As a consequence, Townley (1993; 1994) sees HRM as encompassing the entire scope of concepts made visible by Foucault’s methodological toolkit – discourse,41 disciplinary power and self governance (each of which will be described in more detail below). From this perspective, both personnel and accounting constitute systems of recording, classifying, and measuring. They represent the operation of governance through calculative order. They render power invisible by presenting information as an objective fact independent of the interests of those who produce and use it. They express a belief in the ‘reality’ which is produced to the effect that this becomes the basis upon which decisions are made. (Townley 1994, p. 145) Whether workers actually express this belief or not, however, this ‘reality’ is the product of the organisation and its rationality, and it does not reflect the experience of job incumbents – like Smith and Haraway, the experience of individuals ‘in’ the system is unrepresented in Knowledge. Townley questions the ethics of such a system, and like Dorothy Smith and Donna Haraway, advocates for a reorganisation of the apparatuses through which Knowledge is generated and power is exercised so as to allow the subjects themselves to have a voice in the process (Townley 1994, p. 151ff). 41 Foucault’s discourse is similar to what Haraway refers to as ‘Knowledge’ (1990; 2004a). 103 In addition, Townley calls for a rejection of the corporate-owned methods of categorising, rating and ranking of work process and workers’ conduct, because it in fact manifests a means of producing what workers are expected to view and accept as a universal and objective reality. In its place she suggests a set of tactics for allowing the worker/subject to have influence on the form and content of Knowledge instead of being only influenced by it – means for giving the worker/subject voice in the system of which they are a part. Thus, Townley’s work provides a concrete example of the application of a family of research analytics based on the philosophical studies of Michel Foucault. Similarly, the other theories and theorists in this section contribute important perspectives that can inform a study of TMTL, with the goal of identifying how the subject is produced. These perspectives provide the analyst with a robust set of tools for identifying and analysing the ‘hard’ and technological aspects of modern business, and also for analysing the experience of subjects involved in and produced in modern business. In this section I have reviewed evidence showing that the most welldeveloped theories for studying labour (Marxian and feminist) provide this study with valuable tools. I have also shown that these tools contain gaps that limit their utility to this project. As has also been shown, the theoretical and analytical tools of Michel Foucault provide substantial purchase for spanning these gaps in specific contexts. However, because Foucault resisted any effort to produce a ‘new and better’ universal theory, his own work is most appropriately applied locally and contextually, depending on the conditions that obtain in any given research venue. Following from the fact that any given application of Foucault’s work must address 104 the specifics of the context in which it is applied, it is not sufficient to only study how others have applied them. This is because the context of others’ applications may not call for particular aspects of Foucault’s corpus that would be especially useful in one’s own research. Therefore, the researcher must also consult Foucault’s work directly so he or she is widely versed and thus more able to draw from Foucault in ways that are particularly apt to one’s own research context. For that reason, in the following section, I will list, describe and illustrate details of the theoretical and analytical tools of Michel Foucault that can inform this project. 3. Foucaultian Theory “People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what they do does” (Michel Foucault, in Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, p. 187). The Foucaultian researcher is interested in more than what people ‘know’ and ‘do’ when engaging in social action. The Foucaultian sociologist is more interested in the ‘doings of doings’ – what knowledge and practice produces, and in particular, how what it produces affects individual and social knowledge and practice. This is reflected in the description of Foucaultian research as a ‘history of the present’, genealogical, and ‘post-phenomenological’ (Lynch 1993, p. 117ff). This project follows these ideas to research the ‘doings of doings’ of TMTL, and particularly labour in call centres. A ‘history of the present’ intentionally avoids the use of present day values to critique past events, instead looking for the large, small, strategic and tactical shifts in both epistemology and technology in the past that have influenced the way things are known and done in the present (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, esp. pp. 104-125). 105 Foucault’s concept of genealogy follows from this idea for a ‘history of the present’, and in particular draws upon Nietzsche’s abandonment of historicism and the notion that there is a teleological purpose underpinning history. In combination, these hold that history is a set of unessentially related occurrences – none of which is a necessary outcome of prior events (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c; Foucault 1984a, 1990a, 1991b, 1995; Prado 1995, p. 33). Genealogy permits a direct challenge to traditionally held truth, knowledge and rationality (Prado 1995, p. 30) and is a Foucaultian’s tool for critically deconstructing and redescribing those truths culminating in the present, subjects and subjectivity, and possibilities for social change. By denying a teleological aspect to history, Foucault is able to abandon the notion of a universal subject, and a structural ‘cause’ related to the universal subject. While there are many possible directions for genealogical research, Foucault described that his career’s work was aimed at creating a history of the different modes through which humans are made (and participate in making themselves) into subjects in Western culture (Foucault 1979; 1983, pp. 208-209; 1991a, 1991b, 1994b). He isolated three forms of action through history that act to transform humans into subjects (Foucault 1983): 1. Development and use of scientific methods to implicate truth. 2. Splitting (structuring) a population into groupings that can be studied as subjects and manipulated so as to produce particular outcomes. 3. How humans become self-subjectifying (that is, how humans turn themselves into subjects). 106 Each of these forms is reflected in one or more of the theories described in the previous sections of this chapter. A focus on each characterised distinct periods of his career and went under the general titles of (1) discourse, (2) disciplinary power and (3) governmentality. However, these three forms do not describe a ‘progression’, where subsequent forms replace others. Rather, they all remain present in modernity and reinforce or facilitate each other. It is also the case that there is not one particular structure or ideal type for discourse or disciplinary power or governmentality. Following from his genealogical work on the ‘history of the present’, no such universals are considered to be possible, such that each particular situation will differ in its specific details. Instead, discourse, disciplinary power and governmentality are abstract formulations that can be found to exist in many different forms depending on their genealogical ‘history’. For example, the discourses that comprise linguistics, economics and biology all differ from one another in their details (Foucault 1994c); each are different in turn from the discourse underpinning mental illness and psychology (Foucault 1988b), which differs in its details from the discourse of medical science (Foucault 1994a); the discourse that informs the disciplinary power in penal institutions (Foucault 1995) differs from governmentality in the political, religious and social management of sexuality in various periods of Western history (Foucault 1988a, 1990a, 1990c). The contents of any given discourse or constellation of forces that produce disciplinary power or governmentality are imbricated such that they become recognisable as a unit. The result is what Foucault calls a ‘dispositif’ – a relatively stable and interlinked or imbricated constellation of beliefs, values, Knowledge, empirical events (architecture, technologies, power relations), etc. that vary with the 107 conditions that obtain in any given setting or singularity (Deleuze 1991, pp. 162-163; Foucault 1972, esp. pp. 3-17). Through his work, Foucault identified several additional abstract formulations that have been found to obtain and that make a given discourse, disciplinary power or governmentality recognisable as such. In the following sections I will describe and detail the formulations that mark discourse, disciplinary power and governmentality. a. Discourse Foucaultian research is sometimes referred to as discourse analysis (Miller, G. 1997). However, the Foucaultian version of discourse analysis differs from the conventional social science meaning of that phrase. To a Foucaultian, discourse is the collection of knowledge and methodological practices related to a particular domain, field or discipline, a collection which allows a particular interrelated body of knowledge and practice to be seen as more or less unified. Most commonly, when Foucault invokes the term discourse he is referring to a body of knowledge, ‘truth’ and methodology associated with the human sciences (Foucault 1972, 1988b; 1993, esp. fn 4; 1994a, 1994c; see also Jones & Williamson 1979). For example, in several of his major works, Foucault identified and described methods, values and assumptions, and the interrelations between them, that permitted the development of a ‘scientific’ discourse (that is ‘Knowledge’) on linguistics, economics, biology, madness and medicine (Foucault 1972, 1988b, 1994a, 1994c). Through his career, Foucault developed two related but distinct forms for analysing discourse: archaeology and genealogy (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c). Archaeology focuses on identifying the rules that make it possible to identify a 108 discrete discourse (Foucault 1972, 1994c; Prado 1995, p. 154) – something similar to a conventional epistemology (Prado 1995, p. 30). Genealogy follows Nietzsche’s abandonment of historicism and any notion that there is a teleological purpose underpinning history. A genealogical perspective leads one to see that history is a set of unessentially related occurrences, none of which is a necessary outcome of prior events (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c; Foucault 1984a, 1990a, 1991b, 1995; Prado 1995, p. 33). As indicated above, genealogical research permits a direct challenge to any imputed truth, knowledge and rationality (Prado 1995, p. 30). It is the Foucaultian’s tool for problematising what is conventionally thought of as universally or transcendentally ‘true’, for critically deconstructing and reconstructing those truths in ways that culminate in a ‘history of the present’, and also in the production of possibilities for social change. A genealogical analysis orients to the development of and change in bodies of knowledge; thus, genealogies make use of archaeology. Through the adoption of a genealogical perspective, discourse analysis serves to question the very possibility of universal truths, and instead traces the creation of Knowledge and truth and the means through which they come to exist and gain authority in the creation of subjects and subjectivity in society. It is this that leads the Foucaultian to problematise the view that structures, class, patriarchy or any other thing is a single or inevitable cause or effect in society. This is commonly argued in terms of what Foucault refers to as the heterogeneous and discontinuous nature of the construction of society (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, pp. 44-78; Foucault 1972, pp. 317; 1984a; Rose, N. 1999c) – the idea that it is not only ‘big’ or theoretically meaningful events that influence the production of the present (and subjects and subjectivity), but also that local and circumstantial events, values, beliefs, etc. are 109 taken up by actors in ways that introduce small influences in the production of Knowledge and means for converting that knowledge into practice. The accretion and influence of many such small influences can be large and distinctive in the history of the present, just as the small features in or along the banks of a river can have gradual but historically important effects in the flow of that river and its impact on its ecology. Studies are typically employed to allow the analyst to study the means through which subjects are turned into objects through scientific discourse. Scientific discourse is constructed upon particular practices of observing, abstracting and inscribing observations, and assembling these inscriptions such that generalised and abstract truths come to be ‘discovered’. It is important to note that a Foucaultian analysis does not start with an assumption that the product of these practices is a truth, rather that the product of these practices is an effect of the practices themselves. As recommended by Dorothy Smith and Donna Haraway, and as will be elaborated below, this leads to the idea that when one has the aim of freeing subjects from a particular discursive ‘truth’, one should direct one’s efforts at altering these practices, and not at overpowering some theoretical universal structure, as recommended by orthodox Marxians. b. Hierarchical Observation, Normalising Judgement, Examination Hierarchical observation is the scientific and technical practice of dividing individuals or groups of individuals into categories for more convenient observation according to particular, sometimes already determined, criteria. Normalising judgement is a practice of abstracting and inscribing observations onto a form that 110 allows one to order them according to characteristics of what is observed or the imputed value of what is observed through hierarchical observation. The result is an ability to compute an arithmetic norm, or to produce ratings or rating categories within the things or population observed for the purpose of assigning them to categories or assigning values to individuals in the population – of producing ‘scientific’ structures in a social setting. In an early text, titled ‘The Order of Things’ (Foucault 1994c), Foucault presents an analysis of three areas in the human sciences that, beginning in the enlightenment era, came to be characterised by these practices: linguistics, biology and economics (see also, Jones and Williamson (1979) for an analysis of schooling practices in 19th century Britain). His analysis of these three discourses shows them to arise as a combination of non-discursive and discursive practices. Non-discursive refers to ‘background’ practices, or practices that are culturally stable (Foucault, Barou & Perrot 1980). Discursive refers to what becomes evident only after observations are organised into scientific forms of logic – typically in the form of lists and tables (taxinomia and matheses) (Foucault 1994c, pp. 71-76; Kendall & Wickham 1999). Lists/taxinomia and tables/matheses are canonical in science as ways of sorting the observed world according to particular features made observable by hierarchical observations and normalising judgements (Armstrong 1985; Foucault 1994c, pp. 71-77; 1995, p. 172; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1993, 1996). Foucault implies that these practices in linguistics, biology and economics provide the methodological basis for the construction of Knowledge and ‘truth’ in all other human sciences. (See Haraway (2004a) for a similar analysis of the creation of canonical practice in science. However, note that Haraway focuses on these methods as they exclude women and women’s viewpoints from scientific practice.) 111 In ‘Discipline & Punish’ (Foucault 1995), Foucault uses the panopticon designed by the moralist philosopher Jeremy Bentham as a paradigmatic example of the way hierarchical observation and normalising judgement are incorporated into the workings of an institution to afford the continuous production of Knowledge. Knowledge which informs the exertion of effort to discipline its members. The panopticon is an architectural design that permits guards to observe prison inmates while they themselves remain unseen – a one-way visibility – and able to inscribe an inmate’s actions, position within the cell, etc. at any time, thus producing a record of the inmate’s actions in time and space. The key to this technology is the way it subjects individuals to a manufactured reality, affords the division of populations into categories, and makes their actions visible and inscribable in terms of that manufactured reality. It is also notable that this practice situates the observer ‘outside’ of the things or people being observed, a point also made by Haraway regarding the positioning of the scientist ‘outside’ of the thing being observed (2004a) and Smith (1987b; 1990b; 1990c) regarding the way a social science researcher is officially positioned ‘outside’ of the social phenomenon being observed. When a series of observations and inscriptions are thusly made of an individual or group of individuals over time, they are said to be comparable. This affords the production of norms (arithmetic averages of each person’s or the entire group’s activity over time), rankings (the arrangement of all observations according to some value) and ratings (the clustering of observations into groups that reflect a particular categorisation or value scale). These norms, rankings and ratings transparently reflect and reify the organisational and institutional values and beliefs within which they are created – the ‘truths’ of the discourse. For example, it is 112 common for businesses to compute or assert: norms of productivity and/or quality in employee performance; employee rankings (for example, from the highest producer to the lowest); and ratings that categorise (for example, salespeople as ‘high producers’, ‘medium producers’ and ‘low producers’ (Frenkel et al. 1999) or workers measured along any other type of scale (Townley 1993, 1994, 1995b, 1998)). These statistical data represent the truth about the organisation and about individual workers within the framework assembled by the organisation. The influence of these values and beliefs that leads to particular observations and ways of normalising, ranking or rating individuals is essentially invisible because the observations are inscribed into abstract forms that signify only what is inscribed and not the values, beliefs, etc. that led the organisation to make that particular observation. That is, panoptic technology hides the observer and the epistemological basis of its form through the production of what come to be accepted as scientifically objective records, even when there are variations in the way observers (even very highly trained observers) make their observations, abstractions and inscriptions (Latour 1987, 1999b; Latour & Woolgar 1990). This is consistent with Foucault’s observation that Knowledge is not produced through a universal, linear or teleological process; rather that it is also influenced by the incorporation of unpredictable, discontinuous threads and bits of knowledge in subtle and untraceable ways. This is reflected in the criticism of Smith (1974; 1984; 1999a), Haraway (2004a) and Townley (1993; 1994; 1995b; 1996) in their various observations that scientific and technical knowledge, and its ‘truths’ about subjects and subjectivity, reflect not the epistemological purity of scientific and technical methods, but also very transparently and unintentionally incorporate 113 values, biases and perspectives common to the local place and temporal period in which they are produced.42 While other effects of panopticism will be described in more detail below, it is relevant to note that panopticism is found to permeate society through factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, etc. (Foucault 1995, pp. 217, 228) and is arguably a model for the production of Knowledge, truth and institutional action across modern society. While Foucault’s original treatment addressed prison practices directly, this observation has been borne out by the research of others who have shown how the same basic panoptic system is diffused into many different institutions of modern society, for example, labour, family life, political process, etc. (Armstrong 1985; Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Brigham & Corbett 1997; Cameron 2000; Donzelot 1991; Ezzy 1997; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Frenkel et al. 1999; Hacking 1986a; Hines 1988; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Knights & Collinson 1987; Knights & Odih 2000; Lankshear et al. 2001; Latour & Woolgar 1990; Law 1986; McKinlay & Starkey 1998a; McKinlay & Taylor 1998; Miller, P. 1994; Miller, P., Hopper & Laughlin 1991; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Miller, P. & Rose 1990; Morgan, G. 1988; Poster 1990; Roberts 1991; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Spears & Lea 1994; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Townley 1993, 1994, 1996; West, C. 2001; Zuboff 1988). Its pervasiveness is a very effective camouflage that allows it to hide while in plain sight of members of society, who go about their everyday lives affected by it but largely unaware of its operation. Because members 42 It is relevant to note that variations or excesses in technical methodology are commonly made accountable by those who introduce them based on local events or other contingencies not accounted for in the official technical Knowledge that supposedly governs them (Garfinkel 1967, 1986; Latour & Woolgar 1990) – something referred to as the ‘et cetera’ phenomenon (Garfinkel 1967; Sacks 1963, p. 10). The ‘et cetera’ phenomenon is usually treated as a special privilege of the technical experts themselves, based on their familiarity with or high degree of technical knowledge of what is being observed. Thus, the technical experts reserve for themselves the ability to both defend and breach their technical rules in a sort of self-policing society, something pointed up by both Haraway (2004a) in her criticism of scientific practice and Smith (1987b; 1990b; 1990c) in her criticism of social science methodology. 114 are largely unaware of its operation they become disciplined by it – disciplined by power immanent in the way it structures, organises, regulates, paces and allows examination of them, and the apparent objectivity and manufactured truth of its products. Foucault showed that the very perspective made possible in a panoptic hierarchical observation (its ‘gaze’, the particular observations and inscriptions it makes possible) instantiates and facilitates segmentation and ordering of space and activity in terms of the organisation’s values, such that anonymous surveillance can produce minutely detailed records and abstracted, mathematically produced normalisations of the ‘characteristics’ and activity of individuals (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c; Foucault 1990a, p. 19; 1994c, 1995; Rose, N. 1999c, p. 7; Townley 1993; 1994, pp. 25-51). Townley (1994) refers to these as ‘enclosing’, ‘partitioning’ and ‘ranking’ practices, the product of which is official discourse/Knowledge. Whereas, in labour process theory, the rationalisation of process is said to arise from power that universally emerges and comes into force based on one’s relation to the means of production, resulting in the inevitable deskilling and degradation of work, under Foucault’s conceptualisation, such is not simply a product of the means of production, rather also of: (a) historical conditions, (b) the observer’s Knowledge of workers’ skills, (c) production of apparatuses for ordering these skills into a productive force – microphysical techniques for disciplining and coordinating workers’ action – and (d) ability to use the resulting visibility of the performance of those skills, and the rating and ranking of workers and the production of ‘norms’ from this process, to ‘improve’ efficiency or productivity. Thus, the capitalist’s/owner’s focus is not (necessarily or in the first place) on deskilling and degradation; it is on the way his or her values (reducing cost, increasing reliability of 115 process and output) and knowledge of the requisite skills leads him or her to institute structure over the labour process (what, as will be described below, is called ‘power’), the way this structure makes activity visible, inscribable and computable into hierarchical observation, normalising judgement and examinations, and the way the Knowledge so produced is taken up and used by the owner to reinfuse already existing values (what, as will be described below, is the continuous relation of power/knowledge) – what Foucault refers to as a microphysical power over bodies in ways that make them productive in particular ways. While deskilling and degradation are observable outcomes of many capitalist processes and have many substantive social effects, focusing on them allows one to miss the many and heterogeneous microphysical factors that influence the production of subjects – factors that, as will be illustrated below, become clearly visible when one adopts a Foucaultian orientation. Additionally, one cannot necessarily say that everything power produces is bad. Instead, Foucault has us consider that everything is dangerous (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983a, pp. 231-232) and deserves to be problematised in terms not of some sort of universal law or system but rather in terms of the facts provided for by the past and our present. For example, a common product of examinations is an inscription of observed activity into particular, usually scientific, forms (Foucault 1972, 1994c; 1995, p. 176) (what Latour has called the ‘mobile immutable’ (Hacking 1982, 1986a; Latour 1986; see also Law 1986)). Scientific forms of observation and inscription are caught up in substantial advances that benefit humans. At the same time, through the problematising viewpoint noted above, Foucault has studied the genealogical progression of examination and inscription practices in prisons and military installations (Foucault 1995). As reflected by Townley (1994; 1996), Rose (1999c) 116 and Hacking (1982; 1986a; 1991), others have traced the genealogy of examination and inscription into the ‘modern organisation’ through practices of financial accounting and auditing (Armstrong 1985, 1994; Bougen 1994; Hacking 1982; Hines 1988; Hopwood 1987; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Miller, P. 1994; Miller, P., Hopper & Laughlin 1991; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Morgan, G. 1988; Power 1994; Roberts 1991; Townley 1996). A distinct connection between the examination and inscription practices in Foucault’s research and the modern organisation is presented by Hoskin and Macve (1994, pp. 70-71), who describe the translation of these concepts from the late 18th century French Ecole Polytechnique to the American West Point Military Academy in the early 19th century, and on to railroad businesses and the Carnegie business empire, from which its rationality spread to all manner of organisations – an influence Hoskin and Macve refer to as instrumental in producing the modern organisation. Through a Foucaultian analytic, the analyst comes to discover how heterogeneous resources are drawn together in any given application of Knowledge to produce power and varied outcomes. However, unlike a Marxian perspective, such creation and application of power is not necessarily bad, rather dangerous, depending on the historical conditions in which it arises and how it is used (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, pp. 231-232, 264, cf., footnote 217, above). For example, Hoskin and Macve note how examination practices enabled industry to marginalise worker knowledge and institute piecework payment systems, while at the same time, but under different conditions, enabling military academies to produce a disciplined army (Hoskin & Macve 1994). Observation, inscription and examination made possible through panoptic systems are both totalising and individualising: through these practices, the total population of individuals is at once rendered visible in the form of written graphs, 117 charts, etc. (Hacking 1982, 1986a; Latour 1986; Law 1991, 1992; Townley 1994, 1996) and each individual can be located as a point in the population through the ranking of individuals’ characteristics made visible in graphs, charts, etc. The concepts and values made possible through the writing of graphs, charts, etc. that become associated with ‘norm’, ‘normal’, ‘normative’ became powerful regulating concepts in the early nineteenth century. Socially and politically, the process of producing norms through taxonomic and mathetic operations on the data produced through observation and inscription came to represent more than discrete quantity or quality in a population. It comes to define a paradigm for ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’ that both “renders apparent what is not” (Foucault 1994c, p. 72) and “enables us to analyze ... things according to [a] calculable form of identity and difference” (Foucault 1994c, p. 53) that is allowed to arise from a data point’s proximity or distance from norms computed from the ranked or other organisation of inscribed observations (Cameron 2000, pp. 4-6; Rose, N. 1999d, p. 75; Townley 1994, p. 86).43 This ‘will to normalise’ (Cameron 2000, pp. 4-6; see also Foucault 1995, p. 170; Rose, N. 1999d, pp. 7, 56-57, 99) is immanent in the pervasive and modern practices of observation, inscription, examination and normalisation (Foucault 1995, pp. 145, 176, 170, 191, 298; Rose, N. 1999d, p. 77; Townley 1994, pp. 25-51). For example, Figure 4 shows a facsimile of a mobile-immutable; the product of observations, abstracted inscriptions and the instantiation of norms of call centre agent performance (Durr 1996, p. 92).44 The wide grey stripes running vertically and 43 My emphasis on the inscribed character of norms is to remind the reader that the norms themselves are a product of lists and tables generated from inscribed observations, thus that they are a production of the gaze of the organisation doing the normalising, rather than a ‘natural’ artefact of the things observed. 44 The book from which this figure is taken (Durr 1996) is used as somewhat of a ‘bible’ for management in one of the call centres participating in this study. 118 horizontally in this chart represent the norms for productivity and quality, respectively. Figure 4. Scientifically Representing the Subjects in Call Centres (Durr 1996:92) Not only are these various techniques used to produce norms that are then used to make individuals evaluate-able, but observation, inscription, normalisation and examination practices are used recursively upon themselves in order to increase the efficiency and economy of examining and processing observations into norms (Foucault 1995, p. 190). Additionally, the very fact they have become so pervasive in modern organisations is used by proponents as tautological evidence justifying their existence (Cameron 2000, pp. 21-23; Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, pp. 156-157; Foucault 1972, p. 98; 1995, pp. 301, 308; Latour 1986; Law 1991; Rose, N. 1999c, p. 5). That is, the simple commonality of the practices themselves has led them to be 119 uncritically considered as valid and necessary components of any practice that claims to be objective and scientific and true – something the historian-of-the-present and genealogical researcher sees as a dangerous concept indeed (see also, Knights & Vurdubakis 1994, p. 186f)! Additionally, as social behaviour becomes more stably normalised through the techniques of observation, inscription, normalisation, examination and the theoretical and empirical structures produced by them, lay or ‘pop’ experts in the production and maintenance of those structures utilise these techniques to assert or defend ‘normal performance’ in the workplace, and to press upon subjects to achieve this ‘objectively defined’ normality through training or other interventions (Brigham & Corbett 1997; Cameron 2000; Foucault 1995, p. 304; Gery 1991; Hochschild 1985; see also, Latour 1986; Law 1986; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987; Musbach & Davis 1980; Rose, N. 1999c; 1999d, pp. 7, 56-57, 76, 97; Smith, J. 1978; Spears & Lea 1994; West, C. 2001; Winiecki 2001).45, 46 These individuals act as independent carriers who further distribute these practices, increasing their commonality and apparent validity. The fact that these practices are uncritically accepted is one that, as noted above, is seen as particularly dangerous by Smith, Haraway, Townley as well as Foucault (see also, Knights & Vurdubakis 1994, p. 186f), and this underpins their 45 In the introduction of his book, Durr (1996) describes his own experience and introduction to call centres such that he could be described as a ‘pop’ expert in the rationality of call centres. This is a consistent characteristic of authors of such literature (Bodin 1998; Czegel 1999; Durr 1996; Musbach & Davis 1980; Smith, J. 1978; Wilson, R. 1991) 46 The population is increasingly regulated and managed by these ‘pop’ experts who become professionally credentialed, certified or licensed. But this form of credentialing and ‘empowerment’ is itself influenced by examination, inscription and normalisation. ‘Pop’ experts achieve their credentials or licenses after having demonstrated technical expertise in the previously established norms taught to them by other ‘experts’, either through formal schooling or self-study (Cameron 2000, pp. 21-22; Foucault 1995, p. 304; Rose, N. 1999d, pp. 89-90, 101-102). In other words, these ‘pop’ experts are positioned as technicians to provide ‘control at a distance’ from the ‘centre of knowledge production’ (Foucault 1990a, 1995; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Law 1986; Miller, P. 1994; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1994). Foucault himself refers to these experts as ‘compact judges’, who act as carriers of the values and beliefs immanent in hierarchical observations and normalising judgements to extend and thread these practices and their influence through society (Foucault 1995, p. 304). 120 advice to target the practices themselves when change is desired rather than, as advised by those influenced by more structuralist and Marxian theory, to attack capital’s power. While one cannot dismiss capital’s power and class struggle, one cannot be satisfied with analyses that stay at this macro level, because such macrolevel effects are produced by a patchwork of heterogeneous elements – power must be deconstructed to understand its norms, forms and workings. This deconstruction is especially relevant because, as will be shown, members themselves can be implicated in the production of Knowledge and truth as described here, thus also implicated in the apparatus through which management can be said to have power over them – a very different viewpoint than that promoted by Marxian theory. Consequently, possibilities for change are also altered. For example, by seeing power as a patchwork of heterogeneous Knowledge (and knowledge) and practice, resistance becomes a matter of altering Knowledge and practice rather than attacking some sort of class-related power – if the practices are changed, then one of the means through which power is produced is also changed (Foucault 1988a, 1994b, 1997a; Ransom 1997). It is the case that Foucault cautioned against the uncritical acceptance of any particular methodology or structural system on the grounds that it facilitates the ad hoc acceptance of a universal or sovereign order – something dismissed on account of the socially produced nature of order and which he worked to develop a philosophical stance for avoiding (Foucault 1994b, 1997a, 1997e; Foucault, Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983). As will be detailed in Part 2 and Part 3 of this report, these concepts apply to the present study in terms of the embedding of electronic examination/surveillance of call-centre labour (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Cameron 2000; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Knights & Odih 2000; Spears & Lea 1994), the automated inscription of those observations into abstracted representations 121 (Cameron 2000; Latour 1986) and the dissemination of those representations through dressage, discipline, training, incentive schedules, etc. (Brigham & Corbett 1997; Cameron 2000; Foucault 1995, pp. 164-169; Knights & Odih 2000; Lankshear et al. 2001; Law 1986; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Spears & Lea 1994; Stanton & Weiss 2000). The technologies of inscription, normalisation and examination of individuals and their activities produce data about the thing(s) observed, methods for sorting and separating the information produced, and techniques for ranking those sorted observations and constituting the subject – creation rather than just description of the subject. These processes are implicated in the production of Knowledge and also in the production of ideas on what to do with that Knowledge. These are both components of Foucault’s concept of power/knowledge. c. Power/Knowledge Power/knowledge is a concept that depicts its components in a mutually shaping relationship (Foucault 1984b, pp. 59-62; Foucault, Barou & Perrot 1980, p. 154; Townley 1994, p. 520). They are always both present: “… power and knowledge directly imply one another ... there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations” (Foucault 1995, p. 27).47 47 That is, while for followers of Marxian theory power arises from the universal structural relation of capital to labour as a function of the mode of production, for Foucault, power is a constantly changing (though sometimes stabilised) product of manifold and heterogeneous forces, both historical and local. Recent publications of research in call centres indicates that the worker is also an active force in this production of power (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 1999, 2000; Barnes 2004; Beirne, Riach & Wilson 2004; Houlihan 2001, 2002; Hutchinson, Purcell & Kinnie 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998; Lewig & Dollard 2003; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003) and in fact has the ability to alter the workplace (Bain & Taylor 1999, 2000; Barnes 2004; Knights & McCabe 1998; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Winiecki 2004c). 122 Thus, power/knowledge is both the product of hierarchical observation, inscription, normalising judgement and examination practices, and a continuously reinvigorated force behind the ‘will to’ observe, inscribe, normalise and examine – an instrument as well as an effect of power (Foucault 1994c, p. 74f; 1995, pp. 224, 228; see also Rose, N. 1999d, p. especially ch. 7; Townley 1994, pp. 78-80). Power and knowledge arise in the same process and come to influence each other at the same time. For example, as alluded to in the previous section, panopticism is associated with a particular arrangement of technologies and strategies – rendering individuals into a set of relations in which they can be made visible, inscribable and manipulable in certain ways that allow for an economical realisation of biopolitical programs (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983b, p. 189). Individuals who know they will be observed and evaluated in particular ways tend to display behaviours that orient to the evaluation they know is forthcoming. The prison inmate who knows that the guard may be watching – even if the inmate doesn’t know if the guard is watching – will tend to behave in ways that exhibit compliance with the rules of the organisation activated through panopticism. The Panopticon is a marvellous machine which, whatever use one may wish to put it to, produces homogeneous effects of power ... He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection (Foucault 1995, pp. 202-203). It is also the case that the knowledge one uses to produce particular categories to observe and means for observing those categories (for example, architecturally 123 isolating individuals as in the panopticon) influences what observations and inscriptions can be inserted into those categories – for example, the individual’s actions in terms of the architectural and temporal enclosures into which one is placed become easily observable and inscribable. Similarly, what comes to be known as a result of the fact one is observing categories produced from pre-existing knowledge and the methods one uses to observe the categories will affect what one can do with that knowledge relative to the categories observed – for example, one observes an individual’s actions within an enclosure with a pre-conceived notion of what actions are ‘proper’ and which are ‘improper’. The Foucaultian concept of power/knowledge is contrary to the Marxian view of power, for, following Foucault, because power is produced in a relation with knowledge, thus continuously (re)produced through the exertion of knowledge, it cannot be something that only exists at a ‘point’ in the relation, such as is the case in a Marxian, class-oriented theorisation. Additionally, in contrast with the Marxian concept of power, it cannot be seen as universally repressive because it influences what is known and what can be done – as opposed to the idea that power represses knowledge and that by lifting this repressive power, truth will be recovered and people will no longer be alienated from it. Through relations, power produces knowledge and power produces the subject through one’s exertion of knowledge: We must cease once and for all to describe the effects of power in negative terms: it ‘excludes’, it ‘represses’, it ‘censors’, it ‘abstracts’, it ‘masks’, it ‘conceals’. In fact, power produces; it produces reality; it produces domains of objects and rituals of truth. The individual and the knowledge that may be gained of him belong to this production (Foucault 1995, p. 194). 124 In terms of this research, power/knowledge can be seen in the following example. As described above, in current management ideology, there is a desire to increase efficiency in order to decrease the cost of each thing produced. This desire (where the desire is informed by the rational knowledge of management discourse) is manifested through decisions, organisation and microphysical technical regulation of labour process, such that work can be accomplished economically, reliably and quickly. Call centre management will apply this knowledge to develop technologies to regulate the flow of work and develop rules, ‘scripts’ and affective styling to regulate the agent’s performance in order to accomplish this economically and reliably (Cameron 2000, pp. 91-124; Winiecki 2004b) and introduce technologies that effectively discipline the worker to the processes designed by management. That is, these scripts and styling manifest, exhibit and produce power/knowledge to affect a particular outcome. The knowledge of capitalist process and its dogmatic requirement to reduce costs of work also acts as technical Knowledge that is manifested through particular practices (power) to invoke additional hierarchical observations, normalising judgements and examinations of this and other components of work – truths produced about the work and workers. Knowledge produced in this apparatus may be applied to develop new or refined scripts and styling or other interventions to alter the behaviour and/or affect of workers (e.g., exert power). Thus, we see an interrelationship between power/knowledge and a continuous spiral of observation, inscription, judgement and examination with the interest of applying produced knowledge to additional refinements (power). However, it is important to note that power is not domination. Following Foucault, domination only exists when the subject is totally controlled and has no 125 ability to alter relations that produce power. As will be shown, despite what appears to be a set of very strong controls on workers, they can resist and in so doing exert their own power/knowledge (Foucault 1994b, 2000c, 2000d). (Note also that this presents the possibility of actors inserting their own knowledge into the discourse and power of an already established relation – something Smith (1990b; 1990c; 1999a), Haraway (1990; 2004c) and Townley (1994) suggest will produce desirable change.) This will be addressed in more detail in the section below titled ‘Resistance’. As described above, hierarchical observation, inscription, normalising judgement and examination make it possible to reduce an entire population and individuals within it to a ‘grid’ (Foucault 1994a, 1995; Hacking 1986a). Power/knowledge arising from this process renders the entire population as a set of objects of a particular type represented in this grid. What is represented in the grid is the truth ‘discovered’ by the apparatus. Each of Foucault’s major works describes a particular ‘type’ of object: Madness and Civilisation (Foucault 1988b) considers the production of a psychiatric object; Birth of the Clinic (Foucault 1994a) details the production of the medical object; Discipline & Punish (Foucault 1995) details the production of the deviant and disciplined object; and The History of Sexuality, vol 1. (Foucault 1990a) details the production of the self-subjectifying object. In this research, power/knowledge arising from this process renders the population of workers into ‘service’ objects, customer service agents, etc, whose value, as described in more detail below, is computed by position on a set of normalised grids. For example, Figure 4 exhibits individuals as objects comprised of quality and productivity ratings. The text accompanying this figure in its source (Durr 1996, 126 p. 93) is perhaps the best example I could produce of the use of power/knowledge in the production of call centre agents as ‘service’ objects: On a single page, it’s easy to array the Quality/Productivity (Q/P) points for … the entire agent group. At a glance the chart reveals four classes of agents. In the upper right-hand quadrant are the superstar agents. These agents deliver consistent high productivity and high quality. In the lower right-hand quadrant are the agents who have mastered productivity issues but are having some problem with quality components. In the upper left-hand quadrant are the agents who consistently deliver high quality but appear to have some productivity problems. And, in the lower left-hand quadrant are agents who appear to be struggling, like Sam. (Durr 1996, p. 93) In other words, the individuals have been observed and inscribed using the organisation’s rubrics so as to produce what the organisation deems to be quality and productivity (which will be described in more detail in Part 2 of the report, below). The observations have been inscribed into this chart (Figure 4) and can now be evaluated according to norms established by the quadrants inscribed in the grid (Figure 4). Through this process the individual is turned into an object – a bundle of components with an organisationally ranked value. Each individual is made examinable according to the same criteria and is thus comparable with others in the population (Rose, N. 1999c; Townley 1993, 1994, 1996). Furthermore, the ranked value of each object produces a prescription for ‘dealing with’ that individual in terms of the organisation. Some of the mechanisms for applying Knowledge so produced can be described as disciplinary power. i. Disciplinary Power As described above, hierarchical observation, inscription, normalising judgement, examination and the power/knowledge they make possible, ‘write reality’ into scientific forms (Hoskin & Macve 1994; Townley 1994, p. 139). Additionally, 127 the prescriptions made possible following this objectification render each object controllable at a distance through the manipulation of resources that physically constrain, channel or alter the way workers do things, and that also continuously result in the production of observations, inscriptions, etc. consistent with the organisation’s desires (Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Cameron 2000; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Foucault 1995; Hacking 1982, 1986a; Hoskin & Macve 1994; Latour 1986; Law 1986; Lyon 1993; McKinlay & Starkey 1998a; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Taylor, F. 1947; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Townley 1993, 1994). This is the application of disciplinary power. For example, in the opening pages of ‘Discipline & Punish’, Foucault describes how prison inmates in the mid 1800s were regulated by the architecture of the prison, time schedules and audible prompts that regulated prayer, meals, physical activity, education and the like (Foucault 1995). Inmates were physically disciplined so as to behave in particular ways by various technologies. At the same time, these prison inmates are made visible in relief against the organisational segmentation of space, time and activity immanent in those same technologies – thus imbricating the production of power/knowledge with the exertion of power/knowledge. The production of Knowledge in this apparatus translates the observed population and each individual in it to data that is inscribable into particular forms – it renders individuals into an object of discourse, an object arising from the same ‘scientific’ and technical Knowledge from which the apparatus itself is produced. This process of objectification is also a process of subjectification. Since the object-body is known in terms of the power/knowledge that produced it, the body may be manipulated using that same power/knowledge. At work, the subjectified labourer is thus made pliable and manipulable, according to power/knowledge, 128 through enclosing the body into particular architectural spaces such as the panopticon, regulating time and space, introducing technologies that order and pace his or her activity, and training, tools or incentives (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Foucault 1995, pp. 150-156; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1993, 1994). These factors are applied in order to manipulate or adjust objectified components of the body for ‘improved performance’ as valued by the organisation performing the objectification/subjectification – scripting one’s statements to manipulate what is said and how quickly it can be accomplished, requiring particular data processing work to be accomplished in particular sequences, etc. (Armstrong 1985; Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Foucault 1995; Latour 1986; Law 1986; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Miller, P. & Rose 1990; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1993, 1994, 1996). Foucault refers to this manipulation of the body through external or physical means as disciplinary power – the application of knowledge through tools, technologies, rules and practices that influence an individual to do things in ways that would not be reliably possible without those practices. For example, as noted above, in call centres, space is partitioned into cubicles that make workers visible to supervisors and allow the organisation to parcel work to each individual through a computer network terminal and telephone in that cubicle. Workers are assigned to work particular shifts, and take breaks and lunch periods at specific times – that is, they are partitioned in time. The pace of work is regulated by computer software, computer networks and telecommunication networks that are programmed to make the worker visible to a constant inspection. At the same time they are designed to facilitate particular processes, sequences, etc. for accomplishing the work. The workers are disciplined by the imposition of these technologies, rules, etc. so as to produce the organisationally-designed labour process – a process that 129 would not necessarily be followed by workers without the imposition of these disciplinary technologies that are produced from power/knowledge and that inform power/knowledge and the production of discursive objects/customer service agents. Specific details of these and other microphysical disciplinary technologies used in call centres and their impact upon the production of subjectivity and the subjects themselves will be provided in Part 2 of this report. The computer and telecommunication systems, rules, scripts, etc. and other disciplinary technologies are overwhelmingly apparent to the casual observer of a call centre, so much so that it is not unusual to find reports that portray call centres as ‘electronic sweatshops’ in which workers toil with virtually no discretion or the slightest hint of autonomy, and management simply sits back and allows the technology to control workers at every juncture. For example, Fernie and Metcalf (1998) claim an application of Foucault’s panopticon concept (Foucault 1995, pp. 195-228) and assert that control over workers in call centres is ‘rendered perfect’ by the incorporation of ubiquitous electronic surveillance, penetrating segmentation of the workforce and systems of reward and punishment (see also, Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Hyman et al. 2003).48 It is also the case that there are techniques through which workers can be brought to internalise disciplinary power so they regulate themselves according to it. This form of power applies itself to immediate everyday life which categorizes the individual, marks him by his own individuality, attaches him to his own identity, imposes a law of truth on him which he must recognize and which others have to recognize in him. It is a form of power which makes individuals subjects. There are two meanings of the word subject: subject to someone else by control and dependence, and tied to his own identity by a 48 Responses to Fernie and Metcalf show this not to be the case, and in fact, show that workers in call centres have agency and regularly use it to resist and even alter the relation of forces that produce power in the call centre (Bain & Taylor 2000; Holman, Chissick & Totterdell 2002; Taylor, P. & Bain 2003; Winiecki 2004b). The chapters in Part 3 of this report will document methods by which such resistance and adjustments are accomplished by agents in the call centres participating in this research. In many cases, these methods do not affect the appearance of order manifested in the call centres – an occurrence which may make them invisible to a highly structuralist theoretical orientation. 130 conscience or self-knowledge. Both meanings suggest a form of power which subjugates and makes subject to. (Foucault 1983, p. 212) While the first definition of ‘subject’ provided by Foucault in this quote is reflected in Marxian and labour process theory research (Braverman 1974; Burawoy 1979; Cockburn 1983), subjects fitting the second definition provided in this quote are unrepresented in orthodox Marxian and labour process theory research – a subject who is produced through the effect of power/knowledge, power/knowledge penetrating the subject and making him or her from the inside out as well as from the outside, as opposed to a subject defined by ahistorical transcendental universals or as a result of one’s relation to the means of production. However, as alluded to above, both of these forms of subjectivity exist in the call centre. The technology-enabled and conventional panoptic observation, inscription, normalisation, examination and regulation practices create a subjectivity of the call centre agent as that which is written into the official forms of Knowledge. Those same forms become not only a device for watching, rating (thus producing an imputably objective ‘truth’) and disciplining the call centre agent from without, but also a source of self-knowledge – a mirror in which the call centre agent is expected to see himself or herself, and that can be used by the subjectified agent for watching, rating and acting upon one’s own actions from within – having one’s ‘conduct conducted’ by the production and imposition of this ‘mirror’ of data selectively produced by the organisation – one variant of what I will describe below as ‘shadowboxing with data’. Both of these forms of subjectivity are instantiated in the Foucaultian concept of governmentality. Governmentality involves management of the resources that make individuals and populations ‘productive’ in terms of the power/knowledge that obtains in a particular setting. 131 ii. Governmentality Governmentality is described as the ‘conduct of conduct’ (Foucault 1991a, p. 2). The word is a neologism of ‘government’ and ‘rationality’ (Townley 1994, p. 6) – the governing of subjects and resources according to a particular already existing rationality such that particular rationalised outcomes are produced (Donzelot 1991; du Gay 1996b; Foucault 1991a, pp. 94, 95; Law 1986; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Power 1994; Rose, N. 1997; 1999c, p. 40; 1999d; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Townley 1993, 1994). Foucault introduces this concept in the first volume of ‘The History of Sexuality’ (subtitled, ‘The Will to Knowledge’) (Foucault 1990a) in terms of the practices through which 17th century bourgeoisie were incited to care for themselves and adopt practices, beliefs, values, etc. such that they could maintain the health of their bloodline. In doing so, royalty was expected to face the imputed truth of its position as the ruling class and its responsibility to maintain itself so as to maintain its fitness to rule. By the 19th century, the concept of maintenance of the self had been translated into practices for managing the population of proletarian labourers such that they adopted state-determined nutritional, medical, hygienic and sexual practices that supported the economical maintenance of a healthy and productive working population (Foucault 1990a, p. 121ff). The result is what Foucault called ‘biopower’ – the power to Know, influence and promote particular biological processes for the good of the ruling order, where ‘good’ was characterised in terms of pre-existing values, beliefs and desires (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983a; Foucault 132 1980b, pp. 135-159; 1983; see also, Hacking 1982; Hacking 1986b; Ransom 1997; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d). In applications closer to the topic of this project, under governmentality, practices of observation, inscription, judgement and evaluation are utilised in the production of power/knowledge – thus ‘truth’ – about and on the working population, that enables this scientifically-derived technical Knowledge to be applied in ways that entice workers to accept them and use them to ‘conduct their own conduct’ (Donzelot 1991; du Gay 1996b; Law 1986; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Power 1994; Rose, N. 1997, 1999c; Townley 1993). Additionally, through governmentality, the rationalised knowledge and practices of management are portrayed, aligned, valued, arranged in relation to each other such that conduct of worker conduct is accomplished in an increasingly economical way for the overall organisation (Foucault 1990a, 1995; Miller, P. & Rose 1990, p. 10ff; Rose, N. 1999d, pp. 20-21). Disciplinary methods and governmental methods combined to produce an increasingly economical set of means for directing and governing the population. Management tactics such as Total Quality Management (TQM) (Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Burgess & Connell 2004; Holman, Chissick & Totterdell 2002; Knights & McCabe 1998; Knights & Odih 2000; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Rosenthal, Hill & Peccei 1997; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Taylor, S. 1998; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995; Townley 1998; Wardell 1999), High Performance Teams (also called High Commitment Management) (Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Batt 2000; Hutchinson, Purcell & Kinnie 2000; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 2000, 2003), Just In Time production (JIT) (Frenkel et al. 1999; Knights & McCabe 1998; McKinlay & Taylor 1995; Parker & Slaughter 1988; Sewell & Wilkinson 1992; Thompson & Ackroyd 1995) and Human Resources 133 Management (HRM) (Bain 2001a; Rose, N. 1999c, esp. ch. 5-10; Schwartzman 1993; Tomlinson 1994; Townley 1993, 1994, 1998) have been implicated in the process of governmentality in modern organisations. In each of these various management initiatives, workers are implicated in relations in which they are made somewhat responsible for tasks formerly handled by supervisory or middle management staff – including managing themselves. In most of these management strategies, workers are expected to adopt the organisation’s values and give insider knowledge and tricks (that allow workers to accomplish work more easily or to accomplish more than that mandated by management) to management, such that their own knowledge can now be redeployed by the organisation as the ‘norm’ expected of all workers (that is, intensification). This implicates the workers themselves into the production of new ‘truths’ about their conduct and capacity that they must now meet. Because the workers are partially responsible for the production of new knowledge and ‘truths’ about themselves, they are drawn into a relation in which they are expected to both contribute to the organisation’s knowledge about them, and then become responsible for living up to that knowledge. Through this, many of the labour intensive supervisory and middle management tasks are ‘de-bureaucratised’ such that the organisation can reduce the cost of line-management personnel by imposing these tasks upon the workers themselves. When personnel are inculcated to accept and adopt management’s values, beliefs and goals, the organisation can reduce the expense involved in developing, deploying and maintaining disciplinary technologies. As noted above, governmentality does not replace disciplinary power. In practice, disciplinary power and governmentality are paired such that the organisation distributes knowledge about the system and workers, and through this knowledge, power to affect the 134 organisation and its members, building a manifold constellation of architecture, tools, technologies, rules, evaluation processes, etc. that continuously exert both disciplinary and governmental forces even when no individual can be seen to be exerting them – the anonymous distribution and exertion of power (Foucault 1990a, p. 95; 1995, p. 202). In other words, the objectification and subjectification of individuals and populations are managed by applying abstracted and anonymous forms of power/knowledge on objects/subjects to the selection and arrangement of resources that, according to objectifications, will produce outcomes desired by the organisation. This process of moving from abstractions to practice is known as ‘translation’ (Law 1992, pp. 387-390; Rose, N. 1999d, pp. 48-49; Townley 1994). The translation process has shown itself to be successful even on distributed and/or distant bodies when applied through the management technologies listed above in concert with the application of disciplinary technologies that apply a more direct force upon the bodies and minds of workers (Armstrong 1985; Bain 2001b; Brigham & Corbett 1997; Cameron 2000; Donzelot 1991; du Gay 1996b; Ezzy 1997; Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Hacking 1982, 1986a; Hochschild 1985; Knights & Collinson 1987; Law 1986; Miller, P. & O'Leary 1987, 1994; Rabinow 1984; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Spears & Lea 1994; Stanton & Weiss 2000; Townley 1993, 1994, 1996; West, C. 2001; Zuboff 1988 ). In terms of this research, translation can be seen to take place through the concerted application of disciplinary technologies such as architectural designs or tool design (e.g., telephone and software systems), accounting practices, and more psychologically-oriented consultative and confessional practices such as training, informal coaching and counselling sessions, presentation of incentive schedules, etc. (Bain & Taylor 2000; Barnes 2004; Batt & 135 Moynihan 2002; Belt 2002; Callaghan & Thompson 2002; Holdsworth 2003; Holman 2002; Holman, Chissick & Totterdell 2002; Houlihan 2001, 2002; Hutchinson, Purcell & Kinnie 2000; Kinnie, Hutchinson & Purcell 2000; Knights & McCabe 1998, 2003; Knights & Odih 2000; McCabe 2004; Russell 2002; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, P. et al. 2002; Townsend 2004). The product of these tactics and their strategic application is a subject who increasingly sees one’s self in terms of the organisation’s values and goals and the organisation’s ways of rendering the subject into statistical forms, and who is increasingly responsible for managing one’s own conduct in ways that both make oneself continuously observable, inscribable and examinable, and responsible for the ‘truth’ about one’s self these things are made to imply. The success of translation depends upon a relatively uniform interpretation of the organisation’s values, expectations, etc. by members at all levels of the organisation. When members of an organisation perceive the discourse in the same way, they become agents of the system and reinforce the rules through an active governing or management of themselves. When workers and managers share common interpretations of organisational values and goals, it affords the possibility for governors/managers to exert force along established lines of agreement between organisation and individuals. This links the general organisational values and goals with the specific actions of those being governed and the responsibility of workers to behave in ways that are consistent with them (Donzelot 1991; Rose, N. 1999d, pp. 50-51; Townley 1994). Townley describes many human resource management practices through which the worker is brought to combine the organisation’s governmentality with surveillance of one’s self and a responsibility to modify one’s own conduct to comply with the organisation’s norms and forms (Townley 1994). 136 Rose details practices through which the same is accomplished across more facets of social life – during wartime, at work, in the family and in political process (Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d). While observation, inscription, judgement and examination remain a tool of management and offer a continuous source of Knowledge to management, in governmentality, Cameron, du Gay, Rose and Townley follow Foucault to indicate that confessional technologies are increasingly used in the process of both providing information to the organisation that it can use in producing Knowledge about the workers, and instilling governmental rationalities into workers (Cameron 2000; du Gay 1996b; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1994). Both Rose and Townley provide a substantial array of examples of how individuals are ‘brought willingly’ into governmental/managerial rationalities through the confessional technologies of surveys, self-audits, performance reviews and self-prepared ‘improvement plans’, in which titular supervisors and already responsibilised workers cajole, coax or otherwise incite workers to fulfil their ‘responsibility’ to meet the expectations of the organisation as they are represented in relief against the ‘truth’ about the worker’s conduct represented in ‘the stats’ (Foucault 1979, 1983, 1990a, 1994b; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d; Townley 1994). Similarly, Burawoy offers a perspective by which workers are brought to fear the anonymous economic pressures felt by organisations and the threat of redundancy or layoff so as to accept greater and greater work demands while at the same time accepting reductions in pay and or benefits – so called ‘despotic hegemony’ (Burawoy, 1983:603, in Littler 1990, p. 62). Through such ‘up close and personal’ practices, management and responsibilised workers are afforded with the opportunity to affect the perceptions of workers, offer them tricks and techniques for self-management/self-governance such that they can fulfil their 137 new ‘responsibilities’ as workers. As will be shown below, such tactics are deployed in concert with the Knowledge made available to the organisation through its continuous technology-mediated observation, inscription, judgement and evaluation of workers in the process of inciting workers to continuously ‘shadowbox’ with this data as they manage themselves. In combination, the production of scientific Knowledge about subjects and the establishment of tactics that impress individuals to be increasingly responsible for their own maintenance and well-being in the eyes of institutions have been portrayed as essential components of a humanist teleological process through which humanity will eventually achieve total independence – the realisation of a vision traceable to the renaissance (Foucault 1984c; Kant 1784; see also, Rose, N. 1999c). This view depends upon the idea that power is essentially negative and repressive and by discovering the ‘truth’ about ourselves, we can throw off the arbitrary power exerted from a sovereign or universal authority and accomplish freedom and liberty for all; that is, the production of scientific knowledge in this way will ‘free’ subjects from the repressive effects of power (Foucault 1990a, pp. 17-35; see also, Rose, N. 1999c). Following the view that power is not a thing owned and exerted by a universal authority, rather that power is created and applied through practices of Knowledge production, Foucault problematises this humanist teleology (Foucault 1990a, pp. 17-35) as the ‘repressive hypothesis’. iii. The Repressive Hypothesis Since the advent of these scientific practices at the time of the enlightenment and its humanistic orientation, there has been a consistent belief that with the 138 advancement of scientific practice has come (a) a decrease in the arbitrary sorts of control and domination that are in force through sovereign political control and (b) an increase in the ability for humans to produce independently authoritative knowledge that could be used to advance humankind toward a teleological total freedom from domination. However, Foucault draws from an essay by Kant to problematise this view (Foucault 1983, pp. 215-216; Kant 1784). In particular, he asks if the continuous production of scientific knowledge does, in fact, result in freeing one from the bondage of universal or sovereign authority. Foucault provides an example of how this question is pertinent in the first of his books on the history of sexuality, subtitled in some of its editions, “The Will to Knowledge” (Foucault 1990a). In this book, he details, among other things, the belief that in the Victorian era, sexuality was drastically repressed under a regime of chastity and propriety that oppressed people. Instead, in his research he discovered a voluminous literature on sexuality and sexual practices arising from this period, and techniques for extracting information about sexual practices, converting that information to Knowledge and then for deploying it to govern the sexual practices of populations (Foucault 1990a, p. 32ff), an irony he referred to as the ‘repressive hypothesis’ (Foucault 1990a, pp. 17-35). That is, in contrast to the idea that repressive power adversely affected discourse and practice, Foucault finds an explosive increase and use of scientific Knowledge to discipline and govern populations – a phenomenon he describes as the production and deployment of a new form of power that replaces the sovereign without altogether doing away with it. However, different from the panoptic collection of information and its conversion to Knowledge through hierarchical observation and normalising judgement, the practices employed to produce Knowledge were, as he describes it, 139 ‘confessional’. For example, the Catholic confessional became a site for detailed question and answer sessions in which the priest is to incite the confessant to provide substantial details of his or her practices. This was done with the interest of providing the priest with detailed knowledge that could then be interpreted through his knowledge of the received teachings of the church, and used to advise members of his congregation on how to maintain themselves for utmost piety and their eventual salvation – what Foucault initially labelled ‘pastoral power’ (Foucault 1979, 1988d). The point here is that the outward appearance of repression does not provide for proof of repression, and that an incitement and proliferation of techniques for producing and deploying technical Knowledge about a topic does not provide for ‘freedom’ from repression. Instead, technical Knowledge can be implicated into discourse that manifests power over the individual who, ideally, comes to believe it and obey it, governing one’s self on its terms and in the face of the ‘truth’ about one’s self learned from one’s pastor. Power is thus made immanent to the production of knowledge about one’s self as reflected against prevailing values, beliefs and goals; power is ever present and cannot be avoided, even by overthrowing the repressive forces of sovereign authority over one’s body and replacing them with imputably apolitical technical and scientific Knowledge. This provides another concept under which one can reject the Marxian notion that freedom is realised only by overcoming power. It is important to note that this proliferation and deployment of Knowledge is not something Foucault labelled as essentially bad or undesirable. It was, in fact, a means that relieved one from arbitrary authority of the previous forms of government under a sovereign. However, it is also the case that individuals are not so much ‘freed’ under power/knowledge as much as they are subject to new forms of 140 authority (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983c, pp. 126-142; Ransom 1997; Rose, N. 1999c, 1999d) that both ‘produce’ new truths of existence and being, and that can also marginalise, repress and obscure other truths of existence and being (Haraway 2004a; Hoskin 1996; Smith, D. 1990a, 1999a; Starkey & McKinlay 1998). It was this imposition of scientific and technical Knowledge as a ‘new’ sovereign that Foucault labelled as dangerous –any form of autonomous ‘truth production’ apparatus is to be resisted if it presents itself as some sort of universality. I will take up this topic in more detail in the conclusion to this report, below. In the latter part of his career, Foucault focused on subjectivities produced through the processes depicted above with a special interest in theorising how they could be made more ethical by avoiding an uncritical acceptance of the Knowledge produced, assertions made and power exerted (Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983a; Foucault 1979, 1983, 1984b, 1994b, 1997b, 2000c, 2000d; Foucault, Barou & Perrot 1980; Foucault, Dreyfus & Rabinow 1983; Townley 1994). Substantive efforts to incorporate Foucault into labour process theory and feminist theory have taken up this project (Adams & Sydie 2002d; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Ezzy 1997; Haraway 1990, 1993, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; Knights 1990; Knights & McCabe 2000; Knights & Vurdubakis 1994; Knights & Willmott 1989; Littler 1990; LucioMartinez & Stewart 1997; McKinlay & Starkey 1998b; O'Doherty & Willmott 2001; Sawicki 1991a, 1991b, 1994; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004; Sosteric 1996; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999, 2003; Taylor, S. 1998; Townley 1993, 1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1996, 1998; Willmott 1990; Wray-Bliss 2002), though sometimes these have been stubbornly criticised by orthodox followers of Marxian and labour process theory (Barrett 2001; Littler 1990; Lucio-Martinez & Stewart 1997; Mulholland 2002, 2004; Smith, D. 1977, 1987b, 1990b; Sturdy & Fineman 2001; West, J. 1990). One can 141 label the various ideas and tactics aimed at the process of change ‘resistance’, though in doing so one has to acknowledge the Marxian definition of that word and characterise how a Foucaultian form of resistance is different and, in fact, more fitting the goals of this project. d. Resistance In the conventional and Marxian view, the subject is originally outside of power and has a universal essence in which he or she has direct control over one’s knowledge and skill. As described above, under Marx and orthodox labour process theory, capital exerts a force that impedes or destroys the ‘proper’ and transcendental relation between the subject and one’s skill and knowledge. In structuralist feminist theory, patriarchy is equated with or replaces capital as the source of power through which ‘women’s experience’ is repressed. Under these viewpoints, the subject is oppressed under the control of capital and its control over the labour process, or under the exercise of patriarchal authority. Capital’s power, or patriarchal power, is said to oppress the subject as an inevitable result of one’s relation to the means of production, either directly or indirectly. Under Marxian, labour process theory and structuralist feminist theory, resistance is a counter force against power that is said to be able to overthrow it and return the proper transcendental relation between the subject and his or her skill and knowledge, thus completing the passage to a form of political and social organisation in which everyone has equal voice and retains authority over their own skill and knowledge, and ability to exert it for the good of all citizens in society. 142 While Foucault disagrees with the central beliefs of these theoretical orientations, he does not pretend that one cannot have states of domination of a sort similar to that imagined above: The analysis of relations of power constitutes a very complex field; it sometimes meets what we can call facts or states of domination, in which the relations of power, instead of being variable and allowing different partners a strategy which alters them, find themselves firmly set and congealed. When an individual or a social group manages to block a field of relations of power, to render them impassive and invariable and to prevent all reversibility of movement – by means of instruments which can be economic as well as political or military – we are facing what can be called a state of domination. (Foucault 1994b, p. 3) However, as shown above, because Foucault finds that power is not a universal, structural and oppressive force but rather a heterogeneous composite force that produces subjects, a Foucaultian form of resistance is not one that overthrows capital or any other source of power/knowledge. Rather resistance is a force through which the dominant form of subjectivity can be altered to incorporate knowledge from the individuals normally not included in the production of discourse “...by playing a certain game of truth, showing what were the effects (of relations that produce power), showing what they ignore about their own situation, on their conditions of work, on their exploitation” (Foucault 1994b, p. 15; see also, Haraway 1990; Haraway 2004a, 2004c; Smith, D. 1990a; Townley 1994). The result is resistance that does not overthrow or destroy power, but involves the production of or highlighting of other possibilities within a given regime of power/knowledge and ‘truth’ by altering it, and which may, in fact, be formed through the use of methods similar to that which produced the power/knowledge being resisted in the first place. By appropriating the resources or tactics of the organisation or developing tactics that are similar to them, one has resources and tactics that are ‘just as’ rational as those being resisted/altered. For example, the technical and scientific method through which observations, inscriptions, 143 normalising judgements and examination produce discourse and discourse influences the production of disciplinary power and governmentality can be used to produce resistance/alterations in regimes of power/knowledge constructed through the same methods. In other words, the tools of one system can be utilised in new ways, to give voice to new possibilities and produce new forms of knowledge from which new subjectivities can arise (Foucault 1994b, p. 15; Haraway 1990, 2004a; Smith, D. 1990b; see also, Townley 1994). This will be demonstrated in Part 2 of this report. This particular form of resistance gives all members of a group, society, organisation, etc. the liberty to inform and continuously alter the discourse and apparatus of power in which they exist and are produced. This is consistent with Foucault’s view that power is unavoidable, but ‘dangerous’ when any ossified relation of subjects and knowledge manifests what he calls states of domination. I don't believe there can be a society without relations of power, if you understand them as means by which individuals try to conduct, to determine the behavior of others. The problem is not of trying to dissolve them in the utopia of a perfectly transparent communication, but to give one’s self the rules of law, the techniques of management, and also the ethics, the ethos, the practice of self, which would allow these games of power to be played with a minimum of domination. (Foucault 1984c, p. 18) Thus, for Foucault, resistance is that which ensures a continuous opportunity to open new possibilities for producing and exerting power and knowledge, for producing new ‘truths’ within the discourse that reduce or deflect domination. For Foucault, it is not that such an apparatus can forever ensure that power (in the Marxian sense) and domination can never occur but rather that the conditions through which domination comes to exist can be readily altered whenever they do occur. In such a system, resistance is not a force that removes power. Resistance is, in fact, a component of power itself – an agonistic force through which subjects involved in a particular setting are afforded with the ability to influence what is 144 known in a particular discourse, how it is known and related to other components of the discourse and how it is applied – exerted in the continuous production of new possibilities. There is always a possibility, in a given game of truth, to discover something else and to more or less change such and such a rule and sometimes even the totality of the game of truth. No doubt that is what has given the West, in relationship to other societies, possibilities of development that we find nowhere else. (Foucault 1984c, p. 17) In one form of resistance, the ‘spaces left free’ or unconstrained in any given discourse (de Certeau 1985; Foucault 1972, pp. 72, 200, 205, 209ff; Michael & Still 1992) are left open for use by subjects in that discourse. In terms of this research, as will be shown, while there are stable apparatuses of observation, inscription and examination that produce a particular organisational ‘truth’ (and particular subjects or ‘service workers’) that may appear to be dominating, spaces, or un-disciplined and un-governed regions of the discourse, exist and can be used by workers to introduce small innovations in their actions to introduce agonistic forces that may produce change – just as a small piece of debris in a river can affect the production of a whirlpool or eddy that then produces larger effects downstream, so can small innovations by subjects introduce larger, domination-reducing effects in the future. Within the corpus of sociological research, Erving Goffman’s ‘secondary adjustments’ manifest a concept that is similar to this interpretation of resistance (Goffman 1961, pp. 54ff, 199ff). Secondary adjustments instantiate practices that: ...do not directly challenge [the rules of the institution] but allow [individuals] to obtain hidden satisfactions or to obtain permitted ones by forbidden means. These practices are variously referred to as ‘the angles,’ ‘knowing the ropes,’ ‘conniving,’ ‘gimmicks,’ ‘deals,’ or ‘ins’. (Goffman 1961, p. 54) Secondary adjustments are, therefore, acts of resistance with a particularly local purview – ways of staying ‘below the radar screen’ and altering its workings in 145 ways that do not affect its appearance. The organisation and its inherent blind spots or ‘spaces left free’ both make such secondary adjustments possible and obscure their occurrence. The secondary adjustments provide an avenue for taking advantage of ‘spaces left free’ in an organisation and thus manifest means through which the subject can be both ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ the rules while engaging in activities that allow oneself to produce a subjectivity not totally disciplined or governed by the organisation. “On the surface, life appears to run almost placidly, but one needs to go only a very little beneath the surface to find the whirlpools and eddies” through which the inhabitants actively produce themselves as subjects different from that contained in the official Knowledge of the organisation (Goffman 1961, p. 315). As will be shown below, if and when these voices and these subjectivities are allowed to enter and/or alter the official apparatus that produces power/knowledge, it can have an effect similar to that described above. (At the same time, if these voices come to dominate the discourse that produces power/knowledge, they would instantiate a problematic situation. It is only when all voices are afforded with the ability to continuously influence and alter the discourse that one can realise the Foucaultian vision for liberty and freedom from domination.) 4. Seeing What Other Theories Obscure or Make Illegitimate “It matters what ideas one uses to think other ideas” (Strathern 1992, p. 10); with each different idea used to think with, unique possibilities for the present and future arise (Foucault 1972, pp. 141-142; Foucault & Deleuze 1977, p. 208). In order to realise such possibilities, theories must be chosen carefully because theories are tools to think with (Foucault & Deleuze 1977, p. 208). As indicated above, the most 146 common and arguably most well developed of theories for a study in the sociology of labour are those with structuralist Marxist and feminist roots (Abbott 1993). However, as argued above, despite their commonality and ongoing development it is also the case that these tools contain particularly durable blockages and blind spots that can impede their use to develop new possibilities for the present and future. Marxian and orthodox labour process theory views are distinctly structuralist and require one to think in terms of universal truths and inevitable outcomes whenever structures are said to occur. Of all of the structures identified by these theories, the class relation is central and is said to manifest power for capital under which the worker is always dominated for capital’s financial gain. Under this power, worker’s skills and knowledge are stripped from his or her hands and mind and made the property of capital, which always fractures them into trivial tasks that undercut the skilled labourer by rendering them into forms that can be performed by unskilled hands and unknowledgeable minds. When it benefits capital, machines capable of reproducing these tasks are designed and built, further cheapening and degrading their origin and ‘rightful owner’, the honourable craft worker and the guild through which they are properly taught, refined and deployed (Braverman 1974). Through this process the workers once skilled and knowledgeable in entire processes are rendered blind to all but the petty tasks they are assigned to perform. Through appropriation and division of workers from their knowledge and skill, capital conquers labour and labour is left with little recourse. Additionally, under this set of ideas, dualisms are produced that obscure other options for analysing the issues. Capital is opposed to labour and the structure imposed by capital is opposed to agency for the workers (Knights & Willmott 1989). The former have power and the latter are powerless and the only viable means to 147 return to the theoretically universal and transcendental truth of humanity is for labour to join in unison and withhold their labour from capital until it collapses and the world ‘can be made right again’ (Braverman 1974). To do so, however, labour must be brought to see what has otherwise been hidden from its view – the subject must be brought to have consciousness of one’s class such that the domination of capital is made apparent and resistance is made the only option. But to realise this essential step, labour must be awoken from a slumber through which it is mollified by capital’s efforts to separate workers from the potential of resistance while giving labour what appears to be a creative outlet for ‘making out’ and selfishly improving one’s own financial or personal stake and the outward orientation to consumption it supports (Burawoy 1979). While the most common site of this effort to deskill and degrade work is the craft worker and his (or her) manual labour and creative ingenuity, the power of capital does not end there. Bureaucratic processes are also subject to mediation by technologies designed to routinise processes such that the expertise of office workers is embedded into technologies through which the job is performed (Ritzer 2000b; Sennett 1998). Even the emotions of workers are appropriated by capital in a way that converts them into a component of the product being offered to customers (Hochschild 1985). It would appear there is no end to capital’s dominion over workers and their knowledge, skill and affect. Some feminists follow similar visions of the all-encompassing power and inevitable outcomes of universal structures, but patriarchy is substituted for class in the subordination of women in their everyday and everynight lives. Workers themselves become caught up as tools of this relation and act in their own interest to defend what they think is the proper relation of 148 gender and labour, further marginalising women (Cockburn 1983; Mulholland 2002, 2004). The empirical facts of these claims are accurate – capital does act to fracture complex skill and knowledge and parcel it out such that workers with lower skills can perform them. It also operates to refine the efficiency or presentation of those skills so as to maximise output or satisfaction of the consumer with these products. Women are rendered into subjects with a specific and ‘proper’ place in society and all of these are easily seen as inevitable products of the class relation – one’s relation to the means of production. However, the notion of a universal power and means to overthrow it rely on problematic constructs and positions. There are other ways to view the apparatus that afford other options for analysis and understanding, and options for action. The Weberian ideal type analysis renders things similarly. By its focus on the production of categorical factors the analyst induces across many examples of a particular institutional form – typically bureaucratic forms – the researcher produces an analytical structure that allows one to focus intently on variants of that produced form. In so doing it also allows one to identify durable institutional forms in other facets of society. With an analytic interest ‘up’ in organisations, an ideal type study sees forces from the top-down and, perhaps as a ‘natural’ effect of its design, makes it difficult to see subjects as anything but outcomes of the organisational forms it has produced. Organisational factors and forms take on a mystically universal quality that is difficult to avoid (Ritzer 2000b; Sennett 1998). “It matters what ideas one uses to think other ideas” (Strathern 1992, p. 10). Marxist labour process theory, Weberian ideal type analyses and feminist theory that draws on a structuralist tradition are very hard to think oneself out of – through their 149 dependence on theoretical universal structures they always find and reify universal structures that don’t permit one to think in ways other than that assumed by or produced by the structures themselves – and thus act to apprehend the thinker in a system that inhibits variation and unique possibilities for change. Believing in the admittedly seductive authority of universal structures, anonymous and universal power, and the recovery of a theoretical and transcendental truth comes with the acceptance of an opaque system that impedes problematising those beliefs. It is only by overthrowing the repressive power of capital, patriarchy or domineering institutional forms that one can realise change, and, once the transcendental truth has been achieved, there is no more for us to do. On the other hand, Foucaultian theory allows, even requires, a different perspective and implores us to question the utopian visions cast by such universals: We know very well that, even with the best intentions, [utopian] programs become a tool, an instrument of oppression. Rousseau, a lover of freedom, was used in the French Revolution to build up a model of social oppression. Marx would be horrified by Stalinism and Leninism. (Foucault 1988e, p. 10) So, following Foucault, it is not universal structures that one should believe in and pay attention to when one is seeking a way to liberty. Instead, one is appropriately oriented to who has the authority to contribute to the discourse, the ways knowledge is produced and deposited into historically stable structures and the ways it is deployed to produce and reproduce artefacts in society – institutions and the individual subjects within those institutions. By orienting to the ways that stable forms are produced, one is able to render them problematic, to make the familiar strange (Clifford 1986, p. 23ff; Sacks 1963). In so doing, by not treating them as a timeless and permanent foundation of society, rather by seeing them as a sedimentary ground produced historically and in the ongoing processes in which we find 150 ourselves, as submerged features that effect eddies and whirls in a river and remain unseen from a casual inspection of the surface, but become apparent when one questions the apparent placidity of events and delves past the apparently universally smooth surface, one can find subtle but potentially far reaching influences in the ‘life below’ that make it possible to discover and alter their workings (see Goffman 1961, p. 315). Taking Foucault’s lead and inspecting what is beneath the apparently smooth and universal surface features of society, the analyst is afforded with a new and rich source of details and evidence to study, and with which to understand the production of society, social life and the subjects produced in it. At the same time, by problematising these apparent universals, by not accepting them as such and instead working to document the processes through which they have come to be the apparent background of society, it is possible to trace the production of this apparent background, and people as subjects of the workings of institutions and the knowledge that comprises them, rather than to appeal to the universals all over again. At the same time and with the same emancipatory goal of Marxism and feminism, Foucault’s work, especially as it has been taken up by feminists like Donna Haraway and Barbara Townley (Haraway 1990, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c; Townley 1993, 1994, 1995b, 1996) and separately the trenchant work of Erving Goffman (1959), point toward ways that individuals can affect these processes and in so doing, approach a new way of being as subjects. It is through this continuous problematising of what our apparently stable knowledge and powers produce that they are found not to be so stable and powerful. Essential in this process is an opening and usage of ‘spaces left free’ in given discourses of knowledge and apparatuses through which it is exercised – un-patrolled 151 or uncontrolled areas in which individuals can think and do things ‘in-between’ the forces and inertias that accompany stable forms in social institutions (de Certeau 1985; Foucault 1972, pp. 72, 200, 205, 209ff; Michael & Still 1992). However, it is important to note that these ‘spaces’ are not zones of absolute freedom in which members of a location can achieve total escape from the constraints of the institution. The actor is always in an agonistic relation with existing constraints but can use such ‘spaces’ to act in excess of the rules that normally limit one’s actions. In so doing subtle but distinctive changes in the actual workings of an organisation can be produced and actors can demonstrate their authority even in locations where, under casual and uncritical inspection, they appear to be dominated (for example, compare Fernie & Metcalf 1998; Winiecki 2004b). Along the same lines, because of the imbrication of technical communication apparatuses and human workers in TMTL, Haraway’s concept of the cyborg is especially pertinent – the subjects themselves are made up in the cybernetic blend of human and machine (Haraway 1990). Unlike the formulation of the oppressed subject in Marxian and labour process theory approaches, Haraway envisions that the cyborg is a unique actor who occupies a new and unique position in society, not necessarily constrained by the discourse of technology or the discourse of one’s human location, and who is thus afforded with a ‘space’ from which one can speak in unconstrained and authoritative ways, affecting the Knowledge that underpins the apparatus in which one is located and activating the ability to affect one’s own subjectivity (Haraway 1990). Taking advantage of this location and space comes with the potential of affecting the ruling relation, the formal Knowledge of a discipline, from the inside-out in an ongoing effort to resist succumbing to a belief in a stabilised, ossified or universal truth system, or a system that is only appropriately 152 produced by technical experts who claim to exist in an external and objective relation to the world. Regarding the latter, following Foucault, it is not appropriate for an analyst to study a location and theoretically derive a set of ‘spaces’ in which subjects could act so as to produce change in the apparatus. Instead, the analyst is to study the location, its historical creation, its rules and its members in order to see how they locate, create and use spaces interstitial to the disciplinary and governmentalising power in the organisation. It is only by allowing the members themselves to demonstrate such things that their voices can be heard and perhaps amplified by the researcher. However, documenting those spaces and amplifying the voices and actions of those who find and use them require research methods that are sensitive to both the subtle nuances of action and the apparatus in which they occur. These methods are ones that make the everyday lives of actors a focal point, while at the same time enabling a focus upon the artefacts of discourse and power, and the ‘truths’ they impose. Foucault’s methods are aimed at inspecting the historical production of discourses and different kinds of powers to produce subjects in society. They use as primary data the texts containing records of discourse and events great and small that can be found to document this production of Knowledge and power. Powerful as they are, these methods do not afford the sort of up close and personal approach from which one can discover and give voice to those who normally do not influence the official production of Knowledge and power and from which the likes of Smith, Haraway and Townley propose meaningful change can arise (Haraway 1990, 2004a, 2004b; Smith, D. 1990a; Townley 1994). Thus, this research requires the researcher to be near the subjects, to ‘live with and like’ them (Van Maanen 1988a) so as to access their doings and thoughts over long periods as well as affording access to the apparatus’ official production of Knowledge. The methods called for in this research are distinctly ethnographic in their form. 153 CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY With the goal of documenting and detailing the production of subjectivity and subjects in TMTL, this research requires a methodology that allows me to be in close proximity with my informants. This would facilitate the development of a sensitivity to the ebbs and flows of their action, the stable features of the organisation that influence them, as well as more ephemeral, local and personal factors of their everyday/everynight lives that affect them, and how they use or deal with them. Similarly, the aims of this project would benefit from researcher freedom of the type afforded Goffman in fieldwork for several of his main studies (Goffman 1961, 1974), a freedom from oversight by management of the organisations so that the researcher can work to earn the trust of members of these organisations without them being afraid the researcher is an informant for management or has some other ulterior motive,49 while at the same time retaining the privilege to inspect the official workings of the organisation – its divisions of time, space and activity, documents through which its Knowledge is produced and presented, its processes and its values – at multiple points in the constellation of forces that characterise it. These are demanding and tricky requirements for any research project, and especially so for research in private sector organisations that are accustomed to being spared the nosey inspection of outsiders.50 Even in the discipline of anthropology, where ethnography is still perhaps the canonical research methodology and research sites themselves are sometimes far from centres of bureaucratic authority, there is no 49 However, it is difficult to waive off the fact that this research does have an ulterior motive – the goal of successfully completing the requirements for a PhD in sociology. Despite appeals for a more outwardly and emancipatory purpose (Clifford 1986; Cooper 1994; Crapanzano 1986; Haraway 1990; Knights 1990; Parker 1999; Pratt 1986; Rabinow & Rose 2003; Smith, C. & Thompson 2004; WrayBliss 2002), academic research retains this as a very strong millstone that exerts a strong centripetal force – even when one is sincerely oriented to the former ideal. 50 Appendix B provides more details on my experiences with soliciting participation in the study, completion of organizational permissions, etc. 154 shortage of stories detailing difficulty in navigating the political, bureaucratic and personal networks that permit entry (Crapanzano 1986; Pratt 1986; Rabinow 1977). In sociological studies of organisations, this seems to be so much a problem that researchers frequently adopt interviews as a primary data collection technique – a tactic that allows the researcher to remain somewhat on the fringe but still peer within, however always safely policed by management. It is also the case that interviews are more thrifty with the researcher’s time, something that perhaps most affects researchers who are also full time faculty in higher education settings. Perhaps for these reasons, interviews comprise the dominant data collection method reported in most of the relevant research in businesses, formal organisations and bureaucratic institutions (Argyris 1952; Bain 2001b; Bain & Taylor 2000; Baldry, Bain & Taylor 1998; Barnes 2004; Belt, Richardson & Webster 2000; Callaghan & Thompson 2001; Hochschild 1998; Holman, Chissick & Totterdell 2002; Hyman et al. 2003; Knights & McCabe 1998; Korczynski 2001; Lankshear et al. 2001; LeCompte & Schensul 1999b; McKinlay & Taylor 1995, 1998; Mulholland 2002; Panteli, Stack & Ramsay 2001; Schensul, Schensul & LeCompte 1999; Schwartzman 1993; Sennett 1998; Taylor, P. & Bain 1999; Taylor, S. 1998; van den Broek 2002). However, interviews, as important and powerful as they are in any form of research, are more or less constrained to what the researcher asks about – thus what the researcher has made important to the study – or what the informant thinks is a relevant answer to the researcher’s question (Ericsson & Simon 1980; Schensul, Schensul & LeCompte 1999; Schwartzman 1993). Ericsson and Simon (1980) go to great lengths to experiment with different interview protocols in order to determine how tacit and informal information may be most expediently collected. Their conclusions indicate that to collect some of the most desirable data for a study such 155 as this requires the interviewer to interrupt the informant in the midst of performing the actual tasks and thoughts he or she wishes to learn about – a technique that may produce good results in an experimental laboratory, but that may also impede a worker from doing what the organisation expects of him or her, and something that will eventually draw the ire of the organisation and perhaps the worker – risking the very possibility of ethnographic research. Zimmerman alludes to experiences where his persistent questions (1969; 1970) were occasionally met with patient but somewhat unwelcomed frustration. I can attest to my own experiences where informants politely but surely asked me to seek information from someone else. Thus, much of what might be relevant to the research can remain locked up in the informant’s mind when he or she doesn’t think it’s very important – including the subtle adaptations, tricks and secondary adjustments that may occur in myriad places during everyday activity, which might be immensely valuable to the researcher but that the informant thinks is unremarkable and ‘just part of doing my job’. Even more hazardous is the potential that the researcher will ask questions that make something important based on hidden or abstracted theoretical assumption, when it has little importance for the members themselves (Bramel & Friend 1981; Schensul, Schensul & LeCompte 1999).51 Additionally, while there are many interviewing techniques, some of which can produce detailed ethnographic data about the informant (Johnson 2002; Morgan, D. 2002; Schensul, Schensul & LeCompte 1999; Warren 2002) they also make heavy demands on the informant’s time, something that full time workers with family obligations sometimes have precious little of. With this in mind, the researcher must also be aware of what he or she is doing to the informants during the research, and find means for getting the 51 This project rests particularly on a substantial body of observation but also incorporates many interviews, and a great deal of other data. See Appendix B for more details on the data collection techniques and products for this study. 156 details he or she wants, while not making demands of one’s informants to the extent that the research itself is jeopardised. Rabinow (1977) describes how his persistent dependence on a few informants occasionally forced him to consider that his tactics might be too overbearing, and have seriously adverse affects on his project. In contrast, Burawoy (1979) tells how he was able to have short interactions with his fellow machinists in the midst of work activities, or at natural breaks in the workday, such that he seldom encountered any hint of approaching some unmarked line of decorum. On the other hand, Wieder (2001) indicates that any sort of direct questioning at all was so remarkably disallowed that it would jeopardise his research. More desirable is a study that permits the researcher to observe as a nonparticipant or a participant, but always over a long period – what is known as ‘persistent observation’ (Strauss & Corbin 1998). Persistent observation affords the researcher with an opportunity to ‘live with and like’ (Van Maanen 1988a), to experience the member’s life as closely as possible, to learn the ebbs and flows of activity, the little things that matter a great deal and the big things that hardly affect anyone, the unseen and unspoken codes that suggest the murky silhouette of subjectivity, and insight to define features that even the members themselves don’t have language to describe (Lincoln & Guba 1985; Rabinow 1977; Van Maanen 1988b; Wieder 2001). In addition to a (more or less) unconstrained ability to perform persistent observation and talk with informants in both formal interview settings and informally, ethnography requires the researcher to have access to documents – the ‘inscribed reality’ of the organisation – and the obscured but institutionalised methods used in producing that reality (Haraway 2004a; Smith, D. 1974, 1984, 1990a). The tactics of Latour and Woolgar and Zimmerman provide useful 157 suggestions for technique in ethnographic work for this project, especially where they involve the researcher in the occasional production of data and its interpretation (Latour 1987, 1999b; Latour & Woolgar 1990; Zimmerman 1969). In concert, relatively unconstrained persistent observation, interviews and official document collection affords the researcher with rich and deep experiences from which to develop an understanding of the ebbs and flows of the organisation, its members, its official methods and unofficial practices, such that a thick description can be generated (Geertz 1977) – that is, a richness and density of detail that gives the reader a tacit experience of the members, the site and the imbrication of its characteristics, so that he or she begins to feel that which is not conveniently, or even possibly, packaged into words. This sort of ethnographic writing, made possible by the rich and deep experience of persistent observation, talking with members and access to the inscribed reality of the organisation, is the making of what Foucault, following Nietzsche, called genealogy (Foucault 1984a; Nietzsche 1989). A genealogy consists of what amounts to a thoroughgoing deconstruction and reconstruction of experience, inscribed disciplinary Knowledge and institutional realities – a way of problematising uncritically assumed orders, structures and truths – such that they can be seen and known in new ways (Foucault 1988e, p. 11). As demonstrated throughout this report, genealogy allows the researcher to produce a history of the present – an accounting of how we got to where we are now, replete with an obsessive inspection of the many pieces that comprise the ground, and a stubborn refusal to accept the otherwise uncritically-accepted answers (which seem to lie everywhere and which are offered by everyone without a moment’s consideration) to 158 questions over what influences what else, and how details great and small are interconnected, all in the process of making what we see now, possible. However, it is also the case that Foucault chose to intentionally avoid producing genealogies that positioned the author as the sole authority, a new sovereign that tells all how to understand, act and move forward (Foucault 1988e; 1998, pp. 216-220). Instead, by disassembling Knowledge and power, as it has become ossified in the institutions and the minds of their inhabitants, we can “...show the arbitrariness of institutions and show which space of freedom we can still enjoy and how many changes can still be made” (Foucault 1988e, p. 11). In so doing the writer of a genealogy translates for one’s informants and hands to the reader a responsibility for interpretation, adaptation and application of what is said and what is only hinted at, such that the reader takes part in the deconstruction and reconstruction of Knowledge, power and ‘truth’ suggested by the researcher (Foucault 1988e; 1998, pp. 216-220; Van Maanen 1988b, pp. 101-124). All of that being said, ethnographic and genealogical research has limitations and drawbacks to which one must admit. Perhaps first and foremost, the sort of up close and in-your-face activity in which the ethnographer engages can, even when trying desperately otherwise, have impacts on the workplace that one doesn’t want, or that may have detrimental effects on the project or on the inhabitants of the research venue itself (Crapanzano 1986; Pratt 1986). The researcher might also actually find oneself in uniquely hazardous situations. Van Maanen tells how he found himself on the scene of what might have easily turned into gunplay (1988b, p. 68ff) and Geertz’ participation in illicit activities with his informants put him at risk 159 of being dismissed from the field by paramilitary troopers (Geertz 1977)52 – something the more distanced researcher never has to worry about. While ethnographic research provides for a very deep inspection of specific subject areas in specific locations, its products are not generalisable in the conventional social scientific sense. Ethnographic research does not permit one to draw conclusions on, say, the specific workings in a creation of Knowledge or the applications of power such that universal structures may be derived (nor is this its purpose and in fact such would be contrary to the aims of Foucaultian, poststructuralist research). If one seeks to produce imputably generalisable social scientific facts, theory or research intended to inform the structuralist expectations of political science or social policy (even if one’s aims are critical), one would be welladvised to follow a more formulaic, structuralist and positivist methodology and writing style (Frenkel et al. 1999; LeCompte & Schensul 1999b; Riesman 2001; Van Maanen 1988b, pp. 45-72), though doing so comes with its own hazards and problems (Latour 1986, 1987, 1993; Latour & Woolgar 1990). It is also a very deserved reputation of ethnography that it is a ‘chronovore’ – it consumes time, among other things. Paul Rabinow indicates that his anthropological fieldwork in Morocco spanned four years, during which he ‘missed out’ on much of the deepest strife in America over the war in Viet Nam (Rabinow 1977). Michael Burawoy indicates that his fieldwork and participant observation as a machinist spanned nine months (Burawoy 1979). John Van Maanen spent two years as a participant observer in the Union City police department (Van Maanen 1988b). My own fieldwork spanned two calendar years while I was a full time faculty member in the Instructional & Performance Technology department in the Boise 52 Of course, Geertz’ experience in the Balinese cockfight and after was also the makings of one of the most famous fieldwork experiences of any ethnographer, and turned into a singularly serendipitous event for the good of his fieldwork (Geertz 1977)! 160 State University College of Engineering. During these two years I amassed nearly 2000 hours of observation (one work-year for a fulltime employee), 6000 pages of word processed field notes, over 130 interviews and thousands of photographs and documents. Data analysis spanned the two years of fieldwork and an entire sabbatical year while I also wrote the report now in your hands. Resting beside the practice of research that depends on interviews or surveys, and research designs more distanced from individuals and society that uses pre-existing data, population statistics, etc. with their comparative compactness and speed, ethnography comes with a commitment that will strain nearly any individual. On the other hand, the reward that comes from working ethnography is all but indescribable. I would recommend it to anyone if the research requirements make it an appropriate choice. The principle of parsimony applies here: if your research questions don’t require it, ethnography isn’t a very good tool. If they do, carry on. In other words, where ethnography and especially genealogy provide insight into how – the action of society, intentionally generalisable research can be more economical for documenting what – definitions of social constructs, concepts and apparatuses. Since this research, as described above, is explicitly oriented to things that ethnographic research does well, it is the appropriate tool for the job. 1. Looking Forward In this chapter I have reviewed literature related to several primary theoretical frameworks. This review was aimed at identifying gaps in the present theoretical tools available to the researcher interested in studying workplace organisations with the particular interest of studying the production of subjectivity. While they contained essential components and theoretical perspectives, the two most common 161 theoretical bases available to sociologists studying workplaces were found to contain gaps or blocks that left them inadequate as tools for this purpose. However, other approaches, and in particular those informed by the theory, philosophy and methods of Michel Foucault were found to not only span these gaps and avoid these blocks but also introduce other attributes that make them a good fit for the purposes of this research. The remainder of this report will proceed as follows. Part 2 and Part 3 of the report contain and detail the substantial empirical ethnographic details collected in fieldwork. Part 2 contains two chapters. The first of these details explicitly disciplinary technologies and tactics associated with the organisational program in TMTL. The second chapter in Part 2 details managerial and governmental tactics and technologies associated with the organisational program in TMTL. Part 3 of the report also contains two empirically-informed chapters. Each of these chapters focuses on how workers operate in the ‘spaces left free’ to create subjectivities for themselves within their respective organisational programs. The first chapter in Part 3 details resistance and secondary adjustment practices developed and mobilised by both management and labour in TMTL in the face of the organisational program. As with the chapters in Part 2 of the report, technologies and tactics of workers are of special focus. The second chapter in Part 3 takes a look beyond the workplace at how workers in TMTL use the structures of the organisational program in their personal lives, and as resources to produce themselves and their subjectivity. Part 4 contains the conclusion of this report. In it, I reflect on the related literature and the empirical details of this research to assemble a thesis for ‘how we are, now’ as a society moving briskly into the 21st century with more technology mediation in our lives than ever before. 162 ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2010 for the course POL 3232 taught by Professor What during the Spring '10 term at Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

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