In Disenfranchised, Joel Andreas recounts the tumultuous events that have shaped and reshaped industrial relations in China over the past seven decades. Through interviews with workers and managers, Andreas provides a shop-floor perspective of the transformation of hired hands into permanent work unit members, the all-encompassing control of factory party committees, the battles of the Cultural Revolution, and the disenfranchisement of workers through industrial restructuring. Andreas introduces a general theoretical framework to analyze workplace authority relations and closes with an overview of parallel developments around the globe, chronicling the rise and fall of an era of industrial citizenship.
“Disenfranchised recounts the tumultuous events that have shaped and reshaped authority relations in China factories over the past seven decades. Through interviews with workers and managers, chapters provide a shop-floor perspective of these events. Under the work unit system, from the 1950s to the 1980s, workers became permanent work unit members, who enjoyed a strong form of industrial citizenship. Called “masters of the factory,” they were pressed to participate actively in self-managing teams and employee congresses, but only under the all-encompassing control of the factory party committee. Constraints on autonomous collective action made the system more paternalistic than democratic. Concerned that party cadres were becoming a “bureaucratic class,” Mao experimented with various means to mobilize criticism from below, even inciting–during the Cultural Revolution–a worker insurgency that overthrew factory party committees. Unwilling to allow workers to establish permanent autonomous organizations, however, Mao never came up with institutionalized means of making factory leaders accountable to their subordinates. Initial experiments with “democratic management” during the post-Mao years gave way to policies to empower managers in order to make factories more efficient, paving the way for radical industrial restructuring in the 1990s. The book introduces a general theoretical framework, involving industrial citizenship and autonomy, designed to analyze workplace authority relations, and closes with an overview of parallel developments around the globe, chronicling the rise and fall of an era of industrial citizenship”–
Author: Joel Andreas
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genre: Business & Economics / Labor
Date Published: 2019
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