Perspective Society: Marx, Ford, Jobs

An outline for a block course as part of “Theories of Modern Society” at Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen in Feb-April 2013:
Perspective Society : Marx, Ford, Jobs.

This 3-part discussion takes Theories of Modern Society as a research problem in the tradition of workplace Inquiries. In part one, by examining the Blue Books and Factory Inspector reports that Marx used for the Working Day chapter of Capital Volume one, we will look at the Industrial Revolution in the mid 18th Century. In part two we will consider Fordist Production systems and the global advent of assembly work through to finance capital and just-in-time delivery/Toyota-ism, then in part three the co-research tradition of Autonomist Marxism and Kolinko permits us to look at processed work and the alienations and precarity of net-life, internship and service work – the problem of ‘immaterial’ labour and the general intellect/education system. Each of the sections coheres around ideas of workplace or social inquiry and co-research. Each section will also include some topical film analysis and discussion (eg: Hard Times for mid 1800s, Tucker and Modern Times for 1920s, perhaps Wall Street for the 1970s and The Social Network for processed work for late 20th early 21st Century). Assessment will be your own inquiry into your own conditions of work, broadly defined.

Feb 8-9 Read ‘The Working Day’ chapter of Marx’s Das Kapital (chapter 8) or in English as Capital (chapter 10). This is about 90 pages. (you may of course read the earlier chapters if you wish, but these are not compulsory, though they will be referred to in class, alongside illustrative films for discussion).

March 1-2 Read ‘Machinery and Modern Industry’ in Marx’s Capital (chapter 13 in the German or 15 in the English). Again there will be films, discussion and additional reading in class. Links to the English translation – here

April 26-27 Read ‘The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation’ chapter 25 of Capital (23 German edn) and ‘Hotlines’. Available online in English and German:

The class will be in English, but reading can be German or English. Additional resources on the blog
All welcome.
Professor John Hutnyk
Goldsmiths College,University of London