''Toward a Sociological Theory of Income Differences''
In this paper, Granovetter expresses his dissatisfaction with the current theories of income difference - status attainment and human capital - as well as the new structuralist approaches. Instead, he prefers a combination of these tow paradigms and adds a component that tries to explain the matching process. His theory, then, has three factors: (a) characteristics of the job and employer (new structuralist approach); (b) characteristics of the individual who occupies the job (neoclassical theory and status attainment and human capital); and how a and b get linked together -- what he calls the (c) matching process. This paper is important for several reasons. Not only does it summarize the major theories on wage attainment, it also provides critiques. In addition we get the added bonus of Granovetter's theory of embeddedness (which is the matching process he is talking about).
A REVIEWS AND CRITICISM OF EXISTING THEORIES OF EARNINGS DIFFERENCE
Status Attainment and Human Capital Theories. He says that these two models are similar in their almost exclusive attention to characteristics and decisions of individuals and their neglect of the nature of jobs and matching process. The attainment of status or income is caused mainly by background, personal characteristics, and levels of achievement. Socioeconomic background affects mental ability; background and ability affect educational attainment; background, ability, and education affect occupational achievement; and all of the preceding variables affect earnings. This model exhausts the influence of fundamental conditions of ascription and achievement. The biggest criticism that Granovetter has with this tradition is that it pays little attention to employers and jobs or to matching processes. (There was no talk here of human capital theory; it will be discussed a little later).
Neoclassical Theories of Wage Attainment. Under the neoclassical paradigm, the marginal product theory of wages attempts to explain income differences as resulting from those personal characteristics that make them more or less productive. He criticizes this model on three grounds: (1) the amount of product resulting form a given number of labor units results from the nature of existing technology -- characteristics of the job rather than the workers' skill levels determine this; (2) it follows that if consumers change their demand in such a way as to want less of a product at any given price, the marginal product of labor is again reduced, with no relation to workers' skills; and (3) if there are more workers available at any given wage, more workers would be hired at a lower wage - this is, marginal product would have declined again for reasons unrelated to workers' skills. The neoclassical theory works because it makes the simplifying assumptions that labor is infinitely divisible into homogeneous units, as well-behaved neoclassical commodities are supposed to be. Labor, or course, is not well behaved and comes instead in inconvenient lumps called workers.
Human Capital Theory has changed this way of thinking of workers as a homogeneous group. Instead, workers are seen as rational individuals who attempt to maximize their lifetime income by investing in their productive capacities. Income differences are seen then as differing returns to different initial and continuing investments. The criticism of this model is that the ideas overreact by imagining that the supply side is all that need be analyzed to understand income differences. In other words, it is only important to know what the individual brings to the labor market in terms of educational credentials and training, etc. to understand income differences. Human capital theorists pay little attention to how characteristics of jobs and employers affect income attainment. The difficulty is that whether one's investment pays off depends on whether there is demand for what one's acquired skills can produce (characteristics of available jobs) and on whether one will be in a position to help meet that demand (the matching process).
New Structuralism Paradigm or Institutional Economics: Wage Structure, Segmented Labor Markets, and Labor Queues.
The wages of a job often depend crucially on where it stood in a structure of jobs. The concept of wage structure says that the complex of rates within firms differentiated by occupation and employee and the complex of interfirm rate structures. In other words, this group wishes to determine how a particular job comes to have the wage it has. This is accompanied by seeing where the job fits in relation to other jobs and the firm in relation to other firms. The internal labor market is an administrative unit, such as a manufacturing plant, within which the pricing and allocation of labor is governed by a set of administrative rules and procedures, in contrast to conventional theory where pricing, allocation and training decisions are controlled directly by economic variables. Wages are based mainly on job characteristic, with careful attention to consistency within the hierarchy. This stream of literature takes for granted that jobs have well defined identities independent of incumbents and that this, plus how the overall structure of jobs fits together, is what determines wages. This line of argument responded to difficulties in the analysis of demand and ended up attributing wages only to demand-side factors. The dual or segmented labor market theory asserts that internal labor markets are only one kind of work setting and offer to those in them, substantial advantages, such as built-in career ladders and mobility opportunities - hence the designation of such markets as primary. Other workers are said to be confined to secondary markets, which are composed of workers, especially women, blacks, teenagers, and the urban poor, who follow a much more random series of jobs and are generally denied opportunities for acquiring skills and advancement. He criticized this theory on the grounds that it has a curiously static and atomistic flavor. The economy is imagined to be cut up into some small number of separate markets that are semi-impermeable to one another and have little mutual influence. Lester Thurow attempts to explain differences in wage attainments in terms of labor queues. He argues that a wage is determined mainly by the job rather than by the incumbent; his justification for this assertion is different, however, resting on the claim that marginal products are inherent in jobs and not in individuals. His solution to the question of how workers are matched with jobs at any given salary level is the idea of labor queue; workers are said to be arranged by employers on such a queue in order of their trainability - the cost of training them for such jobs. Granovetter has problems with this because the idea of trainability depends so heavily on workers' background characteristics and educational achievement that the labor queue idea is empirically difficult to distinguish from human capital or status attainment ideas of income causation. More importantly, the idea of such a queue, while perhaps more flexible than that of fixed labor market segments, hardly takes the complexity of matching processes seriously; it is radically inconsistent with both theoretical and empirical accounts of the matching of workers to jobs.
Information and the Matching Process. Basically, in this section, Granovetter says that in discussing the matching process, researchers either focus on the demand side or the supply side; they rarely focus on how the prospective employee gets matched with the prospective employer. In terms of the supply-side of the job search, MG found that workers preferred information derived from their personal contacts. This preference is neither accidental nor irrational: such information is less costly and of better quality than that obtained from impersonal sources. Similarly, evaluations of prospective employees will be trusted better when the employer knows the evaluator personally. Income is closely related to these considerations. People who obtain their jobs through personal contacts made more on average than those who obtained their jobs through application process. On the demand side, there are few jobs for which large numbers of people are not qualified; in practice, employers use a more refined and differentiates signal than
''Status, Autonomy, and Training in Occupational Mobility''
Mobility studies following the status attainment tradition focused on socioeconomic status as the main predictor for occupational mobility. Hout does not deny the importance of SES, but he argues that there are other dimensions of mobility that have yet to be explored. His particular emphasis is on autonomy and training.
Autonomy refers to the degree to which a certain occupation is free from supervision. The odds that a son will be in a position of autonomy increase as the autonomy of his father's occupation increases. This happens through role-modeling, child-rearing practices, and the inculcation of particular values in the family. These psychological effects often produce material effects, since jobs with greater autonomy often have higher salaries.
Training is not a matter of how much, but how specialized the training required by an occupation (e.g. doctors, lawyers, etc.). More specialized training has a greater impact on upward mobility. A father who has a specialized job socializes his son to also value specialization. In addition, specialists tend to band together in networks providing sons of incumbents with useful information about training opportunities and job openings.
Immobility: Most mobility models cannot account for immobility; that is, why sons tend to follow in their fathers' footsteps rather than changing their social position. Hout believes that autonomy and training can account for immobility, especially since they work primarily through socialization.
Hout tests his hypotheses using a linear-by-linear interaction model (basically a more sophisticated uniform association model -- I'll spare you the gory details!) to data from the Occupational Changes in Generations surveys of 1967 and 1978. He finds that both autonomy and training have a positive effect on immobility, as predicted.
Mobility of Blacks and Whites:
Blacks have very low rates of net mobility. The low rates are due to high circulation mobility rather than to immobility. Only the effect of training on immobility in 1973 was significant. This study, however, replicates other findings that the mobility patterns of blacks and whites are converging. This is due to a trend toward equality based in part on diminished stratification among whites and in part on increased stratification among blacks (1404).
Age and Cohort Differences:
The effect of autonomy on immobility increases first and then decreases with age. The effect of training on immobility appears to decline with age, though none of the differences is significant at the .05 level. The effects of status, autonomy, and training on immobility all diminish over the life-cycle. Immobility is less important for older men.
Education and Mobility:
Most of the total effect of father's occupational status on son's occupational status is mediated by the son's education. This suggests that status may not be an important dimension of mobility for men with similar amounts of education. Education does not account for the importance of autonomy for mobility or of autonomy and training for immobility.
LAUMANN AND SENTER
''Subjective Social Distance, Occupational Stratification, and Forms of Status and Class Consciousness''
L and S wish to propose a typology of forms of class and status consciousness. They have developed a subjective social distance scale as a means to empirically assess different forms of status consciousness associated with various occupations. The article was based on two data sets, an early one done by Laumann alone in Belmont and Cambridge, Mass., and a later one done jointly about 5 years later in a comparable manner in West Germany. What they expected to find was a class preference among the middle and lower classes to associate with members of higher classes. This was termed the prestige- or upper-oriented preference. For the most part, their study bore out their hypothesis, with some notable exceptions among the middle classes who exhibited a like-me preference for association with those of like class standing. L and S explain this anomaly as attributable to social and political factors which lessen pure class effects.
L and S review literature and past research. They claim that there have been two persistent fundamental issues in the study of social inequality and stratification over time. 1. How differentiation of social positions in society, especially with respect to the division of labor (DoL) is related to social inequality. 2. How social positions regarded as equal or unequal are linked, both objectively and subjectively, in characteristic patterns of social relationships. L and S focus their energies on the subjective sides of these questions. They are primarily interested in how an individual selects their intimate associates with regards to class and occupation. They make two assumptions when approaching this study, both derived from Weber's discussion of economic class and social groups. They assume that the individual's occupation is a crucial determinant of their class position, and that the amount of stratification within a society can be gauged by the degree to which individuals choose members of their own class as personal associates.
L and S review more literature and arrive at the conclusion that status group and economic class should not be confused. They also assert that individuals may have varying memberships which place them in more then one unit of reference to social stratification. They then propose a four-way table which summarizes the different types of consciousness of strat. and social inequality. Types are not mutually exclusive.
Unit of subjective reference or identification Individual and Secondary group -or primary group or stratum Economic Competitive class Corporate class class consciousness consciousness Status Competitive status Corporate status group consciousness consciousness (e.g. in a meritocratic (e.g. in a socially system) exclusive group, caste, honor)
The like-me orientation corresponds rather closely to the corporate status consciousness while the prestige-orientation corresponds closely to the competitive status consciousness.
Subjective measurements of associational preference were measured by a questionnaire which asked respondents to rate on a ''strongly agree'' to ''strongly disagree'' scale the proposition of having a person of given occupation as various family members, close friends or acquaintance. Occupations were chosen so as to be widely known and understood, so the occupation sample was not a representative sample of occupation as practiced in the US. and Germany. L and S then go through a detailed discussion of which professions signify different class positions in Germany as compared with the US. to explain what might appear as contradictory findings in their data pool.
When all is said and done, they conclude that there is a ''truly remarkable correspondence '' (p.1319) in relative social preferences between the two countries. There is evidence in each that class position influences occupational preferences for intimate interaction. Prestige of occupation is associated with less social distancing, and thus higher assoicational preference. Prestigious occupations are often those occupations which have a high SES, but not necessarily. L and S conclude that the data generally conform to their expectations. Lower and middle classes tend to exhibit a prestige-orientation . However, there is a significant section of the middle class population, larger in Germany than in the US. which exhibits a like-me preference. L and S chalk that up to social and political factors which may happen to coincide with class position, they claim that this occurrence is minor and systematic. There is also a chunk which exhibits some downward-orientations. (9% of sample). L and S term this error. (I found this particular conclusion highly unsatisfying. )
In conclusion, their evidence supports the prestige-orientation among most of the lower and middle classes in both countries. This is evidence of a competitive status consciousness. Cross-national results were very similar, which suggests little cultural influence on intimate interaction preferences.
Classes, Power, and Conflict.
''Selected Readings'' -- Karl Marx
I only summarized the introduction to this section, because the selected readings almost all overlap with the existing Marx summaries
Marx: Class Relations and Capitalism
Although Marx never made a complete formulation of what a class is, he wrote prolifically on the subject. According to him, class divisions are not found in all forms of society. They are a historical creation and will disappear in the future. tribal societies are classes because there is no surplus production and private property. Class divisions only arise when a surplus is generated so that non-producers can live off the productive activity of others. Class relations are necessarily exploitative, and class struggle is the motor of historical development.
Although peasant production under feudalism was not highly productive, the peasant was still largely in control of the process of production itself (rhythms of the workday, nature of the labor process). However, with the development of capitalism, alienation has occurred. Workers have lost control of the basic aspects of the production process and they have lost touch with their species being. (species being: the collection of distinctive human characteristics as opposed to animals. Whereas animals passively adapt to their environments, humans must actively master their environments in order to survive. Under capitalism the working class is like an animal. It passively adapts to its condition).
A major transition in Marx' thought was his adoption of the notion of 'surplus value' (from 1850's on). Although he retains his earlier notion of alienation, he rarely uses the term in Capital. Surplus value is the amount of labor time left after the employer has recouped the cost of the wages for the worker. this is a source of profit. Hence, a worker's wages are not really an equal exchange for his work.
Marx also wrote about the transformation of capitalism into socialism. With the uncontrolled growth of large firms, there is an increasing concentration and centralization of economic life. firms must operate through the state to regulate economic life. Secondly, an intensification of the class struggle occurs. Labor movements aim to get ''defensive control'' of the workplace by striking. this transformation is a peaceful in democratic societies, but can be violent elsewhere (catastrophic revolution).
Lenin: Class Revolutions and the State
Lenin was the leader of the first successful Marxist revolution. He believed that socialist revolutions could occur in predominantly peasant countries, but that they would need the professional leadership of revolutionaries. There is no such thing as a spontaneous revolution for Lenin. A revolution needs intellectual thought to be radical, because left to themselves, workers will only push for gradual reform.
In his book, The State and Revolution, Lenin asks if the state is a neutral body which can be manipulated, or if it is wedded to the interests of the capitalist class. He asserts that the state is an apparatus in which the dominant class asserts its rule and that it is concerned with suppressing the subordinate class. Once taken over by the proletariat, the state would have to be repressive against the bourgeoisie, but after things evened out, this repressiveness would fade. Because private capitalism would be gone, the state would no longer have a reason to live and it would ''whither away.''
Weber: Classes, Status Groups, and Bureaucratic Domination
Weber drew on Marx' writing, but in a critical vein. Unlike Marx and Lenin, he is not optimistic about the future of humanity. The following are five differences between Weber's and Marxist views:
1.) The concept of class and class conflict does not occupy as important a role in Weber as in Marx. Although he agrees that it exists, it is not the main motor of historical change. Conflicts between states, ethnic communities, and status groups have been at least as important.
2.) Capitalism is a distinctively Western phenomenon, according to Weber. There is a rational characteristic of capitalist production that stretches beyond enterprise to permeate institutions.
3.) The increasing speed of bureaucracy in all institutions is an inevitable of the rationalized character of capitalist society. Marx and Lenin only had civil service in mind when discussing bureaucracy. With institutional bureaucracy, there is no way of transcending the state. In fact, the arrival of socialist society will only further bureaucratic domination.
4.) Like Marx, Weber's class concepts are incomplete. He agrees with Marx that class is an objective feature of economic relations founded on property; however, he has no theory of surplus value. Class is simply an aggregate of people with similar life chances in labor and commodity markets. Classes do not equal groups, although group action can be taken as a basis of class interest.
Neither did Weber believe in the likelihood of a revolution. Class organization is often cross-cut by relations from status groups and political parties.
5.) Whereas for Marx the state is an expression of class struggles, for Weber the state is based on the capability to monopolize legitimate control of the means of violence within a given territory. The modern state is a nation state in embattled relationships with other states.
Parties are ethnically based or nationalist. They are forms of political mobilization which do not necessarily form along class lines.
Weber's writings on rationalism and bureaucracy can be read as a challenge to those who believe it is possible to form socialist societies which are not bureaucratic tyrannies. In centralized administrations, the individual becomes alienated. Bureaucracy forms a steel cage and this is the price we pay for living in a highly technically developed civilization.
Ascription in Modern Societies
Just in case you haven't gotten enough Parsons yet, here is some more. Mayhew looks at ascription in modern societies (as you could probably tell from the title of the article) and shows how it is not entirely eliminated by an achievement orientation, but is actually incorporated to at least some extent into the structure of the differentiated institutional sectors of modern society. In the process, Mayhew takes time to defend various aspects of Parson's work from its detractors.
Although Parsons if often faulted for failing to address conflict and the existence of ascription in modern society, Mayhew believes this criticism in largely unfounded. He believes that Parsons took these for granted and rather chose to concentrate on the problem of order and the breakdown of ascription (respectively) in his work.
What does ascription mean for Parsons?
Ascription: the fusion of intrinsically separate functions in the same structural unit. By ''intrinsically separate functions'' he means functions that can only achieve high levels of performance in different and somewhat incompatible structural settings. (A prime example would be the family as of both center of child-rearing and productive unit.) As a pattern variable, however, ascription refers to the classification of objects according to their qualities or attributes. To view another person in relation to ascriptive attributes is to view him/her entirely with reference to his/her fixed position in the social structure. Similar diffuseness (as opposed to specificity) involves responding to a set of diverse characteristics which may derive from embeddedness in a variety of ascriptive structures. There may exist any number of combinations of pattern variables with functional problems (AGIL) of a social system, but the appropriate pattern variable choice for an actor in a given functional context will depend on a variety of factors at various levels. Therefore an actor must take into account: type of adaptive exigencies faced by the subsystem, character of objects of the subsystem, special needs of the actors in the subsystem, and the specialized functional contribution of the subsystem to the larger social system of which it is a part.
In Parsons' later evolutionary work, ascription is often treated as the base state from which evolution occurs in the form of continuing differentiation and re-integration. Parsons classifies as basis ascriptive solidarities: kinship, ethnic solidarity, primary groups, and territorial grouping. These ascriptive features of social life may become attenuated by differentiation and technological advance, but each represents a fundamental exigency of social functioning and as such may never be completely eliminated. Concrete institutions are linked to each other because they share a common set of functional exigencies which limit their specialization - thus their multifunctional character. Mayhew believes that one of the most prevalent and misfounded criticisms of Parsons relates to a misunderstanding of the broadly comparative nature of his work - ie. critics present specific examples to contradict points that Parsons meant to be understood in a very general sense. Along these lines, Parson's 'evolutionary universals' (stratification, cultural legitimation, bureaucracy, market, specialized and abstract legal system, and the democratic association) involve the breakdown of ascription, emancipating or mobilizing resources so as to permit large populations spread over wide territorial areas to develop complex, highly differentiated, productive, and yet solidary societies. Despite this general trend, we should not loose sight that ascriptive elements do in some form retain their functions as an integral component of modern social structure.
One of the primary reasons that ascription retains its functional efficacy in modern society is that it is cheap, or convenient. Ascription involves using existing, pre-established structures as a resource rather than creating new specialized structures for the same purpose. Mayhew states as a general hypothesis: a specialized structure will not be created unless it will be sufficiently productive to justify the costs involved in creating and maintaining it. In a line of zero-sum-type logic, Mayhew suggests that, paradoxically, specialization with respect to one set of functional problems will encourage or even necessitate the use of ascriptive channels for managing other problems (presumably due to a limited pool of resources with which to engage in resource-intensive functional specialization). An example of this concept: if a Sociology department is shopping for a new faculty member, it will not conduct an exhaustive search of every available candidate based on her/his qualifications, since this would - in fact - be impossible given realistic economic constraints. The department will, however, often recruit candidates from prestigious schools or use other inside tracks (both based at least indirectly on ascriptive statuses) to maximize the probability of finding a high-quality candidate while at the same time minimizing search costs. To take another example, a group wishing to organize an activity (eg: a cause, movement, etc) may opt to seek sponsorship from existing organizations. This has the advantage of being cheap and permitting a new organization to tap into an established social structure in order to reach a target population. On the other hand, the movement runs the risk of co-optation by the supporting groups, since ascriptive elements of the sponsor will be reproduced in the structure of the dependent movement in some form or another.
By cross classifying two dimensions of a social system problems (ie. external/internal and instrumental/consummatory) a four-fold table of the fundamental functional prerequisites of society (AGIL) can be derived. Mayhew examined the relationship of each to ascription:
Adaptation: (external/instrumental) requires the development of generalized means for pursuing goals and meeting variable environmental conditions (the market being the major adaptive organ of modern society). Although mobility is generally the key to adaptation, ascription can be considered adaptive if access to a given pool of a generalized resource can be gained by virtue of ascriptive links between resources.
Goal Attainment: (external/consummatory) organization for the effective pursuit of particular system goals; capacity for goal attainment refers to a system's ability to organize the effective expenditure of political energy. Although bureaucracy achieves its great level of efficacy in part through elimination of ascriptive influences, sponsorship (as described above) provides a counter example in which ascription plays a positive role.
Integration: (internal/consummatory) involves relating the constituent units of a system to each other. This may involve the confrontation and solution of various coordinative problems arising from mutual interference of system units, breakdown of mutual expectations, or lack of complementary performance. Increasing differentiation of the social system increase the complexity of integrative problems. In such a situation, integration can most effectively be performed when specialized integrative systems (eg. secular, specialized legal system) can deal with integrative problems on their own terms. Integration can also be achieved through particularistic (ie. ascriptive) ties or group membership that cut across other types of social divisions in society.
Pattern Maintenance: (internal/instrumental) involves the problem of developing generalized resources for dealing with internal disturbances of all kinds - with the objective of maintaining commitment to general pattern of normative order. Ascription is less problematic with respect to this functional problem. Kinship represents an ascriptive solution to pattern maintenance. The problem with attaching normative commitment to primary ties like kinship lies in the limited range of such ties. Evolution of larger and more complex societies requires the differentiation of membership loyalties form their embedding in small scale groups.
Conditions required for ascription to achieve its positive functional potential:
Adaptation: existence in ascriptive groups of a range of usable talents and capacities
Goal Attainment: existence of an effective leadership structure within ascriptive groups and an articulation of that leadership structure with the political organization of the larger society
Integration: existence of cross-cutting ties of solidarity
Pattern Maintenance: persons in ascriptively defined social locations cannot be so isolated that their socialization fails to extend the horizon of their social consciousness to the larger society
Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique
Parkin is a neo-Weberian.
Parkin is examining the Weberian concept of closure in these two chapters. Social closure is the process by which social collectivities seek to maximize rewards by restricting access to resources and opportunities to a limited circle of eligibles. This entails the singling out of certain social or physical attributes as the justificatory base of exclusion. Virtually any group attribute (race, language, social origin, religion, etc.) may be seized upon provided it can be used for the 'monopolization of specific, usually economic opportunities. This monopolization is directed against competitors who share some positive or negative characteristic; its purpose is always the closure of social and economic opportunities to outsiders.' The nature of these exclusionary practices, and the completeness of social closure, determine the general character of the distributive system.
Parkin wants to extend the notion of closure to more forms of collective social action designed to maximize claims to rewards and opportunities. Exclusion is the exertion of power in a downward manner to restrict resources from those with less power. Usurpation denotes the collective attempts by the excluded to win a greater share of the resources.
Chapter 4, Social Closure as Exclusion
Exclusion is the predominant mode of social closure in stratified societies. Historically, this was frequently through lineage. In a modern bourgeois society, this can be done through qualifying tests, election by ballot, or by virtue of achievement. This produces a tension between the desire of the powerful to resort to closure by descent and the necessity (for legitimacy, if for no other purpose) of keeping open access. Two exclusionary tactics are used to maintain class:
1. Property (not in terms of private property, like your toothbrush, but in terms of being able to control means of capital, such as a factory, or, as Parkin says, ''means of life and labor'').
2. Academic or professional qualifications and credentials.
Both of these provide some way of making for the intergenerational transmission of class position. For property, it is maintained through inheritance. For credentials, it is maintained through cultural capital. Credentials exist mainly to make exclusion easier, rather than because they have any real value. Credentials also regulate supply of potential job entrants, and thus protect jobs and prevent criticism by lay people, who are told they do not have the credentials to make judgements (professionalization). According to Parkin, educational credentials have become a new form of property.
Closure strategies are not always completely successful. There is some movement between classes. To combat this, the upper classes may seek to preserve themselves by sponsorship, or choosing highly qualified successors, rather than through bloodlines.
Criteria for exclusion may be based on achieved or ascribed characteristics. Those strategies based on ascribed characteristics, such as race, tend to result in communal out-groups. Those strategies based on achieved characteristics result in segmental status groups. The more characteristics used for exclusion tend toward ''achievement,' rather than ascription, the less emphasis there will be on overthrowing the existing moral order. The emphasis will instead be on providing distributive justice.
All forms of exclusion are exploitative, by whatever criteria they are justified. Collective efforts to restrict access to rewards and opportunities, including one group of workers against another, can be regarded as inherently exploitative even though the relationship is not one of surplus extraction deriving from property ownership. All relations of dominance and subordination between groups can be considered as exploitative relationships in the neo-Weberian since (what EO Wright was criticized for before he turned back to ''true'' Marxism and decided there had to be that sucking away of surplus -- what EOW calls exploitation -- as well as subordination). To speak of the shift in the nature of exclusionary rules along the collectivist-individualist axis is thus simply to denote a change in the basis of exploitation.
Chapter 5, Social Closure as Usurpation
Usurpation is that type of social closure mounted by a group in response to its outsider status and the collective experience of exclusion. Usupationary actions have the aim of biting into the resources and benefits accruing to dominant groups in society -- a range of possibilities extending from marginal redistribution to complete expropriation.
One important difference between usurpationary closure and exclusionary closure is that the former tends to rely heavily upon the public mobilization of members and supporters, as in the use of strikes, demonstrations, sit-ins, marches, picketing, symbolic vigils, and the like. As a result, usurpationary activities usually stand in an uncomfortable relationship to the legal order.
Usurpation is usually not done through acts of commission, but through acts of omission, such as strikes. Thus, it is successful only to the extent that the withheld labor is valued. Usurpation tends to take place not when there is a large disparity between classes, but rather when the lower classes' position is not improving. So, a lower class making 50% of the income of an upper class when the economy is stagnant would be more likely to strike than a lower class making 20% of the income of the upper class during a time of economic expansion and improvement in their material fortunes.
Non-labor usurpation (racial, gender, ethnic, etc.) is more based on collective mobilization of a social and expressive kind, since members of these groups do not have important positions that will harm society by their refusal to work.
WILLIAM SEWELL AND ROBERT HAUSER
''The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study of Social and Psychological Factors in Aspirations and Achievements''
This article is based on a longitudinal study of a group of people who where high school seniors in the public, private, and parochial schools of Wisconsin in 1957. Follow-up studies were conducted in 1964 and 1975.
The 1957 survey revealed that socioeconomic status and measured academic ability have a strong influence on educational aspirations. Children from higher status families have higher aspirations for a college education due to encouragement from significant others and good grades in high school. For both sexes, the effect of socioeconomic status on parental encouragement is greater than the effect of ability. The direct effect of parental encouragement on the college plans of both sexes is greater than the direct effect of socioeconomic status or of ability. The educational attainments of parents have a strong positive effect on educational aspiration, thought the effect is greater on offspring of the same sex. Females tend to have lower aspirations than males. The effects of neighborhood and school on educational aspirations were insignificant when controlling for student's socioeconomic status, measured ability, and sex.
The 1964 survey was a follow-up to determine the extent to which the aspirations of the students had been realized 7 years after their graduation from high school. Socioeconomic status has no effect on high school performance, independent of ability. Socioeconomic status has strong direct and indirect effects on significant other's influence and on educational and occupational aspirations, and via these aspirations, on educational attainment and occupational achievement. Ability has strong direct effects on high school performance, independent of socioeconomic status.
Aside from these factors, higher educational attainment also depends on type of college attended. Occupational status attainment depends on student inputs, type of college attended, and educational achievement. Earnings depend on all the preceding sets of variables, including occupational attainment. The role of college quality, by itself, is relatively small in explaining early career attainments.
The 1975 survey was designed to examine the educational and occupational achievements of men and women at mid-life. Women in general tend to get first jobs of higher status than men because women with 12-15 yrs. of education tend to get lower-level white collar jobs, while men with the same education get blue collar jobs. However, men's mean occupational status level is higher at mid-life because men tend to increase their occupational statuses over their work-lives, whereas women generally lose some ground. This is due, in part, to the fact that women's working careers are often interrupted and they have to frequently reapply for jobs after interruptions. Women have to rely more on their educational qualifications rather than on occupational experience. Even more importantly, women lose status in mid-life because the female-typed occupations which they frequently occupy offer fewer chances for advancement compared to their male counterparts.
Findings from Replications of this Study:
1.) SES is a more important determinant of aspirations and attainment for whites than blacks
2.) The important factor in educational attainment for blacks is high school performance; nothing in the Wisconsin model consistently explains aspirations among blacks
Criticisms of the Wisconsin Model:
1.) too social-psychological; it ignores social structural features such as neighborhood and school contexts 2.) assumes individuals are free to move in the social system (S and H deny this)
3.) model explains less variance in occupational attainment than educational attainment and still less in earnings (S and H say that explaining and interpreting social processes are more important that the percentage of variance that can be explained in a mathematical equation)
1.) gather more background information on the informants
2.) explain current occupational status and earnings
3.) look at women's achievements
4.) examine peer influences
5.) explore the effects of family
See: Schematic Diagram of the Wisconsin Model of Status Attainment (p. 72)
The Structure o inequality and the Process of Attainment
Human capital conceives attainment of income as reflecting a person's productivity as determined by his/her ability and skills. Skills are obtained through education and training at a cost primarily in the form of earnings foregone. changes in attainment are assumed to be brought about exclusively through changes in a person's productivity, i.e., skills and experience.
Traditional mobility research assumes that change in attainment reflect changes in positions in a predetermine structure of inequality, without accompanying changes in personal characteristics.
Sorensen proposes a model for the process of attaining income, status, and other job rewards. He assumes that the structure of inequality (distribution of jobs according to attainments) is fixed and not subject to change due to variation it he distribution of personal resources (family background, education, ability) relevant for getting access to jobs. An exponential (math) model is proposed. In this structure, new vacancies are created in each period of time, and these vacancies represent opportunities for growth in individual attainment. The mobility regime that prevails in such a structure was shown to be particularly simple. It is further assumed that an individual's ability to take advantage of the opportunities for attainment gains is dependent on his/her current attainment relative to the maximum level of attainment s/he will be able to obtain given his/her resources. These resources are assumed to remain unchanged after entry into the labor market. From these assumptions, a simple linear differential equation model is derived for change in achievement over time.
The theory proposed here is derived explicitly on assumptions that are contrary to those used in human capital theory. There, change in attainments after entry into the labor market are assumed to reflect changes in personal resources due to on-the-job training, experience and the like. In human capital theory, a competitive market for skills is assumed to exist with no imperfections producing individual attainment increases without increases in resources (productivity). It is a consequence of this theory that the structure of inequality will reflect the distribution of individual resources as the supply of people at various levels of resources will affect the returns (attainments) obtained, assuming a given demand schedule. Changes in the distribution of resources thus will change the structure of inequality.
Assuming attainment changes are produced by the creation of vacancies in a predetermine structure of inequality is consistent with the observed stability of the income distribution since WWII despite a marked change in the distribution of education -- a stability that is contrary to the implications of human capital theory. In the framework proposed by Sorensen, changes in the distribution of resources are assumed not to affect the structure of inequality, though resources are crucial for individual attainment. Changes in the distribution of education presumably would change the relative importance of education among the various attributes relevant for attainment, but not the distribution of rewards provided by jobs.
The purpose of this paper has, however, not been to prove human capital theory wrong. Both processes may operate simultaneously, and labor markets may be segmented according to whether one or the other process is dominant. The empirical identification of which mechanism prevails is a major research task for which the theory proposed here only represents an alternative point of departure to the economic theory.
''Careers, Labor Market Structure and Structure and Socioeconomic Achievement.''
The objective of this article is to develop the notion of the career as a strategic link between structural features of the labor market and the soci-economic attainments of individuals. Spilerman focuses on the life cycle and work history; in other words, a person's sequence of jobs. Spilerman juxtaposes his research interests to those of the socio-economic achievement model (Blau, Duncan, Featherman, Jencks). The socio-economic achievement model emphasizes the effects of an individual's characteristics prior to entry in the labor force (intelligence, father's SES, etc.) on his occupational status and earnings. However, it gives little attention to the linkages which exist among jobs, and does not view jobs as components of career lines. It assumes people with equivalent earnings have equivalent prospects for advancement.
On the other hand, the career line sees the market as patterned. Determinable job sequences exist which can be understood in terms of institutional feature of the market. The career line is shaped by the nature of industry structures such as hiring, and by the types of industries which are expanding or contracting in the market.
Some ethnographies in occupational sociology attempt to characterize the career line, but they are unsuccessful. For instance, some use the idea of career lines ''prescriptively'' instead of descriptively. They claim there is a specific trajectory which the career line will follow. Slocum argues that peoples jobs become more lucrative with the increase of time the spend in the work force. Another problem with these occupational studies is that they typically analyze trajectories within institutional structures. they don't look at cross-institutional career paths or transferable skills.
In the 1950's, some theorists took a partial step toward true career line analysis. It was only partial because it analyzed transitions between pairs of jobs and not the life cycle trajectory. Lipset and Bendix found that occupational change was least common among professionals and skilled workers. The frequency in all job shifts decreases with age. Reynolds found that neighboring industries show the highest interchange of labor with each other (in the trade and service sectors). Palmer found that employers typically shift within careers.
Other sociologists went into further detail. Form and Miller analyzed vertical mobility and the amount of time spent in each work stage. Wilensky, Thompson, Avery, and Carlson analyzed orderly versus disorderly work histories.
Yet according to Spilerman, no systematic attempt has been made to describe the variety of trajectories in the labor market on the basis of employment data.
Characteristics of Career Lines
The labor market is a system of interconnected career lines, which are collections of jobs in which there is a high probability of movement from one to the other on the list (career line = sequence of jobs common to a portion of individuals in the labor force).
1) ports of entry:
The port of entry in a career line is the job held by a significant number of persons who have not had prior employment in that career line. (e.g. before being a police lieutenant, everyone must start as a patrolman). It is important to analyze entry portals to comprehend the socio-economic achievements of individuals since expected life cycle returns in the SES of a worker are functions of returns from component paths each weighted by the probability of being followed. Multiple entry portals can exist for a career line. People who enter different portals will be likely to be different ages and have different levels of education. It is important to study career line which emerge from different portals as well, in order to analyze recruitment patterns into certain positions in the economy.
2)Branches and Career Line Change,br> The study of career lines also analyzes the breadth of the ''branches'' in a career ''tree,'' the age at which each branch is available as a work option, and at what age it is too late to pursue that option as a stepping-stone for upward mobility. In addition to branch selection, individuals can terminate one career and enter a new trajectory (career line change). This analysis looks at what pushes or pulls people into new jobs, or what retains people in their current position. The investigation of career line change is especially pertinent to people who want to change jobs in mid-life.
Career returns are rewards from affiliation with a particular career line, in the form of earnings, status, and satisfaction. They can be analyzed as a function of age. The age when one leaves a job has many consequences for his SES. For each job, there is an appropriate time to stay and a time to leave in order to maximize earnings. For instance, postal carriers should leave their jobs before they get too old. The job is physically demanding, and after a certain age, they will not be able to carry out their duties, let alone be considered for a position as a new hire in another type of job. In addition, it is generally true that people who change jobs will lose less if they stay within the same industry or occupation, so that at least some of their skills or work benefits can be transferable.
Career Line Delineation and Career Categories
This section discusses how to construct career trajectories from survey data , how to classify career lines, and how to link career lines to SES.
1)Retrospective Data Collection
a) Study the historical trajectories of people in common position to find the most frequent career paths
b)Compare paths of individuals who started out in the same job
problems with this approach:
older labor market is not applicable to today's cases
changes in earnings figures due to inflation
use existing data set
generation of career lines with software package
all stages of career lines refer to existing market
recent earnings figures
probability of future job changes must be taken from individual's work history
cohort and age effects will be confounded b/c all individuals in an age group will have entered the labor mkt. at the same time.
Career Line Classifications
(their purpose is to assist in making forecasts about individual work trajectories)
1)orderly career line
positive movement where each successive position brings higher earnings and status
2)chaotic career line
non unilinear progression
no age hierarchy b/c no job is a prerequisite for another
little difference in average earnings from job to job
3)craft/professional career line
low probability of career change, though more common in craft
less earnings response to seniority on craft than in profession, but each case must be looked at in context.
Industrial Determinants of Career Line Structure
segmented labor markets
Spilerman claims the dualist view of labor markets is more accurate than the
human capital view. According to Spilerman, the labor market has primary and secondary sectors, but
also internal and external labor markets. Internal employees are insulated from external employees
through the companies investment in its workers.
However, he also asserts that the dualist view is too simplistic, and that we should take the perspective of the segmented labor market. The segmented labor market is made up of multiple, non- competing groups. The smallest unit of the labor market is the career line. Even in the secondary labor market, workers will ''float around'' in similar types of jobs.
categorizing career lines
1) look at common features of trajectories
2) group career lines by the common trajectory each one is in
-certain vulnerabilities are industry effects
-dead end primary jobs: internal labor markets exist even where the potential for earnings growth is no better than in the secondary sector (e.g., declining industry where employees remain fro many years despite poor advancement prospects, because they have accumulated many non-transferable benefits)
To summarize this section, ''segments'' in the dual labor market theory are career lines and whether a particular position should be assigned to the primary/secondary sector depends on industry rules governing returns to seniority and on union rules concerning the privileges of membership. (why?) Career lines in the primary sector with similar entrance requirements in different industries may be associated with diverse reward trajectories as these segments are insulated from one another.
Problems with status-attainment models: the status and pay of first job are not the best predictors of later labor force attainment. Two first jobs with similar incomes may lead to two quite divergent careers a few years down the road. Looking at people lives as single variables isolate din time is inaccurate Therefore: use life course values for expected earnings, returns to education, etc.; separate population into subgroups rather than treating as homogenous whole.
ROSS (aka Rafe) STOLZENBERG
''Bringing the boss back in: Employer size, employee schooling, and socioeconomic achievement''
Given my history of long summaries you probably won't believe me if I told you that I could wrap this one up in a sentence: the (positive) effect of employee schooling on occupational status and earnings increases linearly with an increase in the logarithm of the employer firm size. So, the bigger the firm, the better the payoff of education as far as job status and pay are concerned. Rafe repeats the same thing (what I just said above) about five times over the course of the paper in slightly (very slightly) different forms. Now that I have ''spoiled the surprise'' of this paper, so to speak, I will try to mention some of the other important points in the article.
Rafe hypothesizes that organizational size works indirectly in mediating the effects of education. Size is therefore a kind of analytical proxy for the more immediate factors involved in the dynamics at work here. Six (structural) organizational dimensions are commonly considered to correlate with size: standardization, formalization, centralization, configuration, overall role specialization, and functional specialization. Rafe's rationale goes as follows. Since larger firms will tend to involve a relatively higher degree of standardization and documentation, it will be important that employees have strong communication, writing, and cognitive skills. In our society, years of schooling provides a widely accepted and readily available general indicator of just such abilities. In more extreme instances of this concern for selection on the basis of standardized criteria, we may see such developments as bureaupathic behavior (Merton) or credentialism. Both of which would promote a higher return for schooling (up to a point, at least).
The various hypotheses Rafe makes contradict the neoclassical economic position, which argues that market forces homogenize the wage determination process - ie. all employers offer the same wage. Stolzenberg's logic follows the more progressive contemporary economic work on the segmented economy and internal labor markets. According to this position, the structural features and positions (vis a vis the larger economy) of firms - of which size is an important one - can help to account for heterogeneity in wages and other measures of job quality across different organizations. (The Leon Mayhew reading goes into much more detail on segmented labor market theories).
The next major portion of the paper deals with various empirical aspects of the study, which are neither particularly interesting or relevant in the big picture. I would direct you to the article itself, if you are really interested to see what variables partial derivatives he uses at various points in the analysis - knock yourself out.
Anyhow, Rafe arrives at a couple conclusions:
--the effect of workers' schooling on their occupational status varies very strongly with the logarithm of the size of the establishment which employs them
--there also seems to be a substantial size effect on monetary returns to schooling as well
--finally, differences in levels of employee characteristics account for about 3/5 of the total differential in earnings, but employer size effects are nevertheless substantial when employee characteristics are held constant
Rafe concludes by pointing to three implications of his findings:
1) compelling reasons for bringing organizational research into the study of social stratification
2) reexamination of human capital economics, which assumes that employer characteristics can be ignored in short-run analyses of schooling effects on earnings
3) results support the speculation that increases in average size of establishment will increase the importance of schooling in determining wages and occupational status - relates to policy concerns
Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis
[numbered points are from Davis and Moore; ''--''s are Tumin]
1. Certain position in any society are functionally more important than others and require special skills for their performance.
--Tumin has problems with determining which positions are functionally more important.
--the importance of someone judges their relative indispensability and replaceability, and this involves a prior judgment about the bargaining power of that segment. But this power is itself a culturally shaped consequence of the existing system
2. Only a limited number of individuals in any society have the talents which can be trained into the skills appropriate to these positions.
--Tumin also has problems regarding who discovers who has what talent.
--The more stratified a society is, the less chance that society has of discovering any new facts about the talents of its members (i.e., stratification tends to build in obstacles to the further exploration of the range of available talent).
--Whether or not differential rewards and opportunities are functional in any one generation, it is clear that if those differentials are allowed to be socially inherited by the next generation, then, the stratification system is specifically dysfunctional for the discovery of talents I the next generation.
--Unequal distribution of motivation in the succeeding generation (e.g., education)
--Elites tend to restrict access to their positions, once they have gained the power (along with the position ) to do so.
3. the conversion of talents into skills involves a training period during which sacrifices of one kind or another are made by those undergoing the training.
--training is generally paid for by the ''talented'' youth's pare
--This cost tends to be paid out of income which the parents were able to earn generally by virtue of their privileged positions in the hierarchy of stratificat
--It is difficult to justify differential earnings past, say, around the ten year mark, yet educated people still earn more throughout their lifeti
--Tends to overlook the psychic benefits gained by a person who goes to college, e.g., higher prestige, self-development, delaying the assumption of adult responsibilities, and access to leisure and free
--While there are always costs to be involved in training persons for skilled positions, these costs could easily be assumed by the society at large. Then there would be no need to compensate anyone in terms of differential rewards once the skilled positions were staffed.
4. In order to induce the talented persons to undergo these sacrifices and acquire the training, their future positions must carry an inducement value in the form of differential, i.e., privileged and disproportionate access to the scarce and desired rewards which the society has to offer.
--Even if training is sacrificial and the talent is rare in every society, is the allocation of differential rewards in scarce and desired goods the only or the most efficient way of recruiting the appropriate talent to these positions?
--Tumin suggests joy in work, instinct for workmanship, and intrinsic work satisfaction, etc. as alternative motivational tools.
5. These scarce and desired goods consist of the rights and perquisites attached to or built into, the positions, and can be classified into those things which contribute to a.) sustenance and comfort, b.) humor an diversion, c.) self-respect and ego expansion.
6. This differential access to the basic rewards to the society has a consequence the differentiation of the prestige and esteem which various strata acquire. This may be said, along with the rights and perquisites, to constitute institutionalized social inequality, i.e., stratification.
--Must any reward system built into a general stratification system, allocate equal amounts of all three types of reward in order to function effectively, or can one type of reward be emphasized to the virtual neglect of others.
7. Therefore, social inequality among different strata in the amounts of scarce and desired goods, and the amounts of prestige and esteem which they receive, is both positively functional and inevitable in any society.
Tumin's Summary of his Critique:
1. Social strat systems function to limit the possibility of discovery of the full range of talent available in a society. This results from the fact of unequal access to appropriate motivation, channels of recruitment and centers of training.
2. In foreshortening the range of available talent, social strat systems function to set limits upon the possibility of expanding the productive resources of the society, at least relative to what might be the case under conditions of greater equality of opportunity.
3. social strat systems function to provide the elite with the political power necessary to procure acceptance and dominance of an ideology which rationalizes the status quo, whatever it may be, as logical, natural, and morally right. In this manner, social strat systems function as essentially conservative influenza in the societies in which they are found.
4. Social strat system suffocation to distribute favorable self-images unequally throughout a population. To the extent that such favorable self-images are requisite to the development of the creative potential inherent in men, to that extent strat systems function to limit the development of this creative potential.
5. To the extent that inequalities in social rewards cannot be made fully acceptable to the less privileged in a society, social strat systems function to encourage hostility, suspicion, and distrust among the various segments of a society and thus to limit the possibilities of extensive social integration.
6. To the extent that the sense of significant membership in a society depends on one's place on the prestige ladder of the society, social strat systems function to distribute unequally the sense of significant membership in the population.
7. To the extent that loyalty to a society depends on a sense of significant membership in the society, social strat systems function to distribute loyalty unequally in the population.
8. To the extent that participation and apathy depend upon the sense of significant membership in the society, social strat systems function to distribute the motivation to participate unequally in pop.
Tumin views these propositions as challenging the idea that social inequality is a device which is uniformly functional for the role of guaranteeing that the most important tasks in a society will be performed conscientiously by the most competent persons.
1. Davis and Moore justify inequality. D and M say that he falls into the usual error or regarding a causal explanation of something as a justification of it. Tumin argues that strat does not have to be, instead to trying to understand why it is.
2. D and M's article dealt with stratified inequality as a general property of social systems (high degree of abstraction). Therefore, it is impossible to move from that to making descriptive propositions about society.
3. Tumin concentrated only on one journal article, and ignored other theoretical contributions by the authors on strat. He misrepresented the theory and raised questions that were answered elsewhere.
4. Tumin failed to achieve consistency in his use of the concept of strat. D and M describe strat as follows: those positions that may be combined in the same legitimate - vis., positions based on sex, age, and kinship - do not form part of the system of strat. On the other hand, those positions that are socially prohibited from being combined in the same legal family - vis., different caste or class positions - constitute what we call stratification'' (from Davis, Human Society).
HARRISON C. WHITE
''The Logic of Opportunity''
(Admission of ignorance: I just cannot seem to get the point of this article! I've tried to capture the main ideas, but I don't think I can explain them any better than this. If anyone is ambitious enough to read this article, then maybe you can explain it to me someday.)
White is concerned with the origins, nature, and implications of chains of moves (i.e., the regenerative nature of opportunity). In particular, his focus is on mobility among jobs in large systems. His work is based on 2 premises:
1.) a person has only one job at a given time (or at least one primary job)
2.) a job tens to have a minimal and fixed number of incumbents
White tries to show that in some kinds of systems, the pattern of mobility can be understood in terms of some simple models. The system to be examined consists of a set of fixed jobs and a set of men qualified to fill them who normally hold posts. White provides models only for one-to-one jobs, a system in which at most 1 person enters and one person leaves each fixed job in the period under consideration.
He labels the components of the mobility system as follows:
Successive Incumbents Type of Interval Man in a Job Jobs for a Man Delay Vacancy Limbo Anticipation Split Merge
The 4 types of systems and their corresponding mobility models:
1.) Loose System: In this situation vacancies are usually filled at once, whereas men spend some time floating in a limbo status between successive jobs. This mobility system is called a bumper chain. Job controllers are able to choose among a variety of candidates for an opening. Prestige differentials in jobs and men affect the dynamics of mobility. The bumper chain is not the most common form of mobility since loose systems are infrequent and often only temporary.
2.) Coordinated System: Vacancies and limbos are both negligible in length. This system corresponds to a simultaneous chain of mobility. One person immediately replaces another in the chain of jobs.
3.) Matchmaking System: Similar to a coordinated system because vacancies and limbos are of comparable length, but their duration is much longer than that of a coordinated system. This mobility system is called musical chairs. Since the number of jobs open and the number of men in limbo are the same, people simply change positions so that every job is filled and every man has a position.
4.) Tight System: Limbos are shorter than vacancies. Men move with little or not interval from one job to the next, whereas some time is required to fill all of the vacancies. This type of mobility is called a vacancy chain.
Why is any of this important?
Understanding structures of mobility can be useful for understanding organizations in general, particularly in the areas of centralization, recruitment, merger and fission, and prestige and authority systems. White is especially interested in how the overall structure of prestige and authority in an organization affects and is affected by the patterns of mobility.
ERIK OLIN WRIGHT
''Class Boundaries and Contradictory Class Locations''
EOW writes about class boundaries and contradictory class locations. Marx wrote about three classes in capitalist societies - the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the petty bourgeoisie. Poulantzas said that everyone belongs to the bourgeoisie or proletariat. EOW argues against Poulantzas by saying that may people work in positions which lie between Marx's classes.
Marx's Original Three Classes in Capitalist Society ( + one)
Contradictory Class Locations
-Managers and Supervisors lie between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat
-Small employers lie between the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie
-Semi-autonomous Wage Earners lie between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie
The sage of the progressive dispossession of the direct producers in the course of capitalist development has been told many times. The point that needs stressing here is that the loss of control over the labor process is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but has occurred gradually over a long period of time and exists in varying degrees even today. In the earliest capitalist production process, the direct producers generally maintained considerable control over the labor process.
Once workers were gathered within factories, the assault on their remaining control of the labor process continued in the form of technical innovations which fragmented the production process and progressively ''deskilled'' the labor force (see Harry Braverman 1974). The culmination of this process was the mass production assembly line regulated by principle of Taylorism, in which the worker lost all autonomy and became virtually a human component of machinery itself.
As for the various experiments with worker participation, such enlarged autonomy is almost always confined within very narrow limits and is always seen as a way of getting workers to work more productively. That is, control is relinquished -- and generally peripheral control at that -- only when it is more than compensated for by increasing production. Capitalists try to extract as much actual labor out of workers as possible. Increasing control and supervision over workers is one way of extracting more labor. However as personal knowledge and motivation play a greater role in modern society, a partial relaxation of control of supervision may also increase surplus labor. In any event, the social relations of control over the labor process remain a basic dimension of class relations.
THE DIFFERENTIATION OF THE FUNCTIONS OF CAPITAL
The separation of economic ownership and economic control has directly contributed to the rise of the upper level managers who still belong to a capitalist elite. Capitalist development has also been characterized by a gradual dissociation between formal legal ownership and real economic ownership. But rather than seeing the dispersion of stock as an obstacle to concentrated control, Marxism interprets it in exactly the opposite way: as a means for reinforcing the actual control of big stockholders, who thus succeed in commanding an amount of funds out of proportion to their actual ownership.
Because of the historical differentiation of capitalistic functions, three central processes standout in the basic capital-labor relationship: control over the physical means of production; control over labor power; and control over investment and resource allocation.
THE ANALYSIS OF CONTRADICTORY LOCATIONS WITHIN CLASS RELATIONS
We will explore two different kinds of contradictory locations: 1. contradictory locations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, i.e. locations defined by contradictory combinations of the three processes underlying class relations within the capitalist mode of production; and 2. contradictory locations between the petty bourgeoisie and both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, i.e. locations situated between the capitalist mode of production and simple commodity production.
The contradictory location closest to the working class is that of foremen and line supervisors. Foremen typically have little real control over the physical means of production, and while they do exercise control over labor power, this frequently does not extend beyond the formal transmission belt for orders from above. More and more, the work structure is designed so that administrative control can replace executive control. The development of the capitalist enterprise has thus pushed foremen in two opposing directions: they have moved further from workers by becoming less involved in direct production, and they have moved closer to workers by gradually having their persona power bureaucratized.
The most contradictory locations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are occupied by middle managers and what can loosely bet termed ''technocrats.'' Technocrats in this context refers to technicians and professionals of various sorts within the corporate hierarchy who tend to have a limited degree of autonomy over their work (minimal control over what they produce and how they produce it) and a limited control over subordinates, but who are not in command of pieces of the productive apparatus. Both middle managers and technocrats have, in Harry Braverman's words, one foot in the bourgeoisie and one foot in the proletariat.
The analysis of the contradictory locations between the petty bourgeoisie and the classes poses a somewhat different problem from the contradictory locations between different modes of production rather than with a single mode of production. Today there are still categories of employees who have a certain degree of control over their own immediate conditions of work, and have at least some control over what they produce. A good example of this is a researcher in a laboratory or a professor in an elite university. Such positions may not really involve control over other people's labor power, yet have considerable immediate control over conditions of work (i.e. research). More generally, many white-collar technical employees and certain highly skilled craftsmen have at least a limited form of this autonomy in their immediate labor process. Such minimal control by employees outside of the authority hierarchy constitutes the basic contradictory locations between the petty bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It remains to be shown whether the new effect of the two tendencies - the expansion of white-collar employment, and the proletarianization of white-collar work - has increased or decreased the contradictory locations between the working class and the petty bourgeoisie. At any rate, it seems almost certain that the large majority of white-collar employees, especially clerical and secretarial employees, have - at most - trivial autonomy on the job and thus should be placed in the working class itself.
Provisionally, the minimum criterion for semi-autonomy which EOW adopts is that semi-autonomous positions must involve at least some control both over what is produced (minimal economic ownership) as well as how it is produced (minimal possession).