Sociologie du Travail

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Sociologie du Travail A sociology of work, associated with the writings of certain French sociologists of the 1950s and 1960s, which provided at the time a refreshing critique of the factory-bound perspective of mainstream (mostly Anglo-Saxon) industrial sociology. This literature re-established the links which Karl Marx had sought to forge between, on the one hand, changes in work organization, technology, and production; and, on the other, personal alienation, class, and socio-political relationships. Leading figures were Georges Friedmann, Michel Crozier, Pierre Naville, Alain Touraine, and Serge Mallet, many of whose works have now been translated into English. Mallet's work stimulated an important debate about the existence of a new working class, but like much Sociologie du Travail, its iconoclasm was limited by technicism and technological determinism. Its influence on left-oriented research and thought in English has now been considerably eclipsed by more recent debates about skill and de-skilling, the labour process, post-fordism, and flexible employment. Michael Rose's Servants of Post-Industrial Power? (1979) is an excellent English-language history and analysis of the movement's theories and work.