UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS Syllabus – Paper 1 -Chapter 6 – WORK AND ECONOMIC LIFE
- Concept of labor is an old one but in modern sense it arrived with growth of capitalism and industrialization.
- Often a worker is differentiated from a laborer in terms of choice as labor’ doesn’t
- In a narrow sense, a labor generally lacks choice either due to lack of work elsewhere or due to social exploitation. Terms like child labor, agriculture labor, female labor are used in different sense than industrial worker.
- Labor also has various broad classifications like – industrial labor, rural labor, feminine labor, child labor, formal labor and informal labor.
- An aspect of labor in modern society is its high division of labor in factory and workplace which is suitable for modern mass production. It is sometimes also referred as ‘Fordism’ or ‘Taylorism’.
- Labor in modern workplaces is more and more standardized and work processes are pre-defined and less flexible.
- Feminist perspective views labor in society in terms of female participation.
- According to Ann Oakley, industrialization led to confinement of women at home. Workforce participation was limited as women were forced to take the role of housewife.
Increasing use of technology and IT at workplace has also enhanced control at workplace as workplaces are now continuously under surveillance. Globalization of labor is another aspect of labor in post-modern times.
MARX ON ‘LABOR’
- Labor is also a process, an activity, which is explained by Marx as ‘labor is, in the first place, a process in which both man and Nature participate, and in which man of his own accord starts, regulates, and controls the material reactions between himself and Nature’.
- According to Marx, labor is peculiar of human beings only and animals are not capable of producing it and our labor creates something in reality that previously existed only in our imagination i.e. it is objectification of our purpose.
- Secondly, this labor is material according to Marx as it works with the more material aspects of nature.
- Marx’s use of the term labor is not restricted to economic activities; it encompasses all productive actions that transform the material aspects of nature in accordance with our purpose.
- Labor, for Marx, is the development of our truly human powers and potentials.
- It satisfies our needs as well create new ones.
DIVISION OF LABOR
- Division of labour refers to the splitting up of work into a series of tasks which are each assigned to different people or groups.
- An increase in the complexity of the division of labour, in history, is linked with the growth of capitalism, trade and output, and difficulty of processes of industrialization.
- The sociologist Emile Durkheim was the first to use the term division of labour in a sociological sense, in his above-titled writing.
- Durkheim proposed a different theory for the rising of the division of labour, noticing that it is present in different advanced societies.
- He stated that rather than it arising as a result of wanting more material resources, it came up due to an increase in population, leading to a rise in competition for survival and finally it leads to changes in social structures.
- In such circumstances, a division of labour worked by helping societies stay together and creating solidarity.