Critical Social Theory and the End of Work  book cover
1st Edition

Critical Social Theory and the End of Work

ISBN 9780367147761
Published May 22, 2019 by Routledge
212 Pages

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Book Description

Critical Social Theory and the End of Work examines the development and sociological significance of the idea that work is being eliminated through the use of advanced production technology.

Granter’s engagement with the work of key American and European figures such as Marx, Marcuse, Gorz, Habermas and Negri, focuses his arguments for the abolition of labour as a response to the current socio-historical changes affecting our work ethic and consumer ideology. By combining history of ideas with social theory, this book considers how the 'end of work' thesis has developed and has been critically implemented in the analysis of modern society.

This book will appeal to scholars of sociology, history of ideas, social and cultural theory as well as those working in the fields of critical management and sociology of work.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Beginning of the End of Work

3. Industrialism, Utopia and the End of Work

4. Marx and the End of Work

5. Marcuse: Needs and Potentialities in the Age of Automation

6. The Future of Work and Leisure

7. André Gorz: Postindustrial Marxism and the End of Work

8. Sociology and the End of Work: Classical, Cultural and Critical Theories

9. Travail sans frontières: Globalisation and the End of Work

10. Conclusion: The End of Work as Social Theory

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Edward Granter is a research associate at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK.


'The prospect of mass technological unemployment has long haunted modern society. And the flip-side too: the utopian prospect that automation will free us from work for play. Ed Granter gives us a sure-footed history of ideas, covering the most important sociological arguments about the end of work. Against a literature replete with hyperbole and fancy, Granter's analysis is deeply knowledgeable, profoundly realistic, and highly tonic.' - Paul S. Adler, University of Southern California, USA

'Critical Social Theory and the End of Work provides a compelling study of visionaries who have imagined a world without labor. This is the best theoretical overview of theories of the end of work by disparate writers such as Fourier, Marx, Marcuse, and Gorz that I have seen and a provocative sociological analysis of the possibilities of organizing our lives differently.' - Douglas Kellner, University of California Los Angeles, USA

'The book is impressive in its scope, marshalling a nuanced and often challenging body of work in a scholarly and accessible fashion. Highly recommended ... engaging throughout ... [the book] admirably rejuvenates and reinforces the credibility of classical and contemporary debates in this area.' - Work, Employment and Society

'A major contribution to critical theory and Marxism. In this most dystopian of ages when work fills nearly every available nook and cranny of our waking time, Granter's book resurrects a utopian perspective, helping us "think otherwise" about our present and future.' - Ben Agger, University of Texas at Arlington, USA

'I have enjoyed this account of the development of ideas about work and its future in the industrial age....his work will interest scholars of sociology, history of ideas, and social and cultural theory.' James Robertson, author of "Future Work"