Gramsci’s discussion of Fordism constitutes one of his rare extended interrogations of hegemony and historic blocs outside of Italy, dealing as it. Donor challenge: Your generous donation will be matched 2-to-1 right now. Your $5 becomes $15! Dear Internet Archive Supporter,. I ask only. Gramsci: “Americanism & Fordism,” Modernity, and Criticism. Spring Professor Joseph Buttigieg (University of Notre Dame). Professor Ronald Judy.
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As an attempt to rationalise production and resolve the dilemmas of capitalism particularly its crisis-prone nature within the constraints of capitalism itself, it potentially represented a ‘passive revolution’ that would usher in modernization without violent social struggles.
It is neopuritanism that aims to counterbalance the tendencies to waste. The brutal anti-unionism of Fordist managers is discussed only in passing, in terms of the way in which horizontal solidarity between free trade unions is turned into vertical, factory-based solidarity.
Notes on Americanism and Fordism Arianna Bove Gramsci on the question offers valuable insights in what will later be the object of sociological research under the name of Taylorisation.
Still, what is important here is how Gramsci approaches Fordism and its triumphs and challenges from manifold directions, attempting to assess every important, resonant aspect, as he sees it, of the ‘historical bloc’ that it comprised. Capital no longer circulates in the hands of producers and managers.
Americanism and Fordism
Passive revolution or internal counter-discourse? The scientific organisation of production equals a scientific organisation of society. The next, he sees sexual openness in America as bourgeois libertinism, supports ‘the family’ and sees feminism as a ‘deviation’.
In fact, Ford himself was very keen on gfamsci his workforce from being influenced by the growing sensualisation of culture, and eager to advance Prohibition and moral rectitude, which was one of the reasons for his attempt to build a little enclave of Fordist America in Brazil, known as Fordlandia.
ammericanism There are other difficulties too. Here, he seems to be influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis. Inasmuch as cities had a much lower birth-rate, these critiques were not wholly off the mark – and this fact was itself one of the factors constantly changing the terrain in which proletarian hegemonic struggles were taking place, because lower urban birth-rates tended to result in rural workers being sucked into urban environments to which they were not acculturated, or bringing in workers of different nationalities and ‘races’.
The principles of scientific managementF.
In part, this was necessary because the corporatist trend operated in a situation of mass unemployment. Taylor is against workers solidarity and pushes for individual economic remuneration to be the primary motive of workers’ activity. In Europe, the still acuminous weapons of the old order – the appeal to craft rights, for instance – could be wielded against industrialism. It thus depended on certain protections for the employed to sustain conditions that would collapse if there were free competition.
There’s also no explicit approach to the issue of racism, antisemitism and anticommunism in the production of Fordist paternalism. The basic revolutionary problem then and only due to this can become the major theoretical and practical preoccupation. This is why Henry Ford’s interrogations into the private lives of workers was so important. Institute for Conjunctural Research. In particular an appraisal of neoliberalism as an historical bloc can help grasp the doomed, declining constellation of forces behind Tory England, their deep hatred for Cameron, their resentment of European infringements on the sovereign nation-state fetish, their abortive attempt to stop EU migration, and their thus far failed but far from finished attempt to mobilise a broad coalition behind the idea of containing Islam, supporting the troops, and preventing the dilution of ‘Britishness’.
But here he tends to contradict himself. He is, to his credit, critical of Trotsky’s idea of militarising labour, but he also has an exaggerated worry about ‘totalitarian’ hypocrisy, in the sense that he believes that moral hypocrisy is principally a sin of moralising authorities under class societies, but could become general and thus only manageable through foridsm in a classless society.
And because of the persistence of old social forms preserved by Fascism, the tendency would be for corporatism in the form of coordination between monopoly capital and the state to simply shore up the crumbling unproductive elements rather than eliminiate them.
They shared a scientific vision of productivity as a neutral instrument to maximise efficiency.
Notes on Americanism and Fordism
What does it represent? He makes some heavy weather of the idea that American workers largely backed the Volstead Act Prohibition – which is a hostage to fortune as it is both not wholly true and omits the impact of Christianity rather than industrial rationalism in galvanising support for the Act. But, though it would seem to have only conjunctural relevance, dealing with America’s move toward a planned economy during the Great Depression, several aspects of the analysis are of enduring significance, not least because of the methodology they imply.
These parasites, depending on ‘rents’ and ‘pensions’ made available to them because of the continued existence of feudal forms and cultural norms no family member of a canon could be associated with manual labour, for exampleprovided the basis for the reactionary form of resistance to ‘Americanisation’. The question was whether the working class itself would be able to take over this trend.
To this view he opposes that of the collective worker. Corporativismo, he said, existed as a movement, and the conditions existed for technical-economic change on a large scale.
This is the only way to ensure their widespread acceptance and thus their efficacy.
Gramsci sees Fordism as the capitalist response to the objective development of the productive forces.
Taylorism and rationalisation The principles of scientific managementF. The View From Steeltown.
Gramsci’s argument, though, is that moral and ethical changes which would in the past have been imposed by the despotism of the church and state, have to be undertaken on the initiative of workers themselves, or at least from within the formally ‘neutral’ terrain of the state. The regulation of the sexual instinct, of reproduction, of gender relations and of one’s basic ‘animality’ is something which Gramsci thinks is necessary and historically progressive – citing the first such regulation when hunter-gatherer societies were replaced by settled agricultural communities.
For my own purposes, it can help explain something about the strange, some time morbid and deadlocked, and apparently contradictory array of ideological and political forces in Britain. Ajericanism of capitalism in economic replacing productivity in the hands of producers rather than bureaucracy and speculation and moral terms creating a cementing ideology internal to the factory.
Gramsci wanted to know just how much Americanisation was penetrating European production methods, and its associated cultures, and how much it was related to European fascism. As if neoliberal accumulation patterns don’t re produce classes with particular cultural, sexual and regional dimensions that need to be central to left-wing composition.
But under fascism, the rentiers were being protected and proliferated, and more and more machinery was being elaborated to protect the old order. But let’s say for the sake of argument that we operate in a post-Fordist historical bloc – that is a capitalism gramwci which hegemony flows from the financial markets rather than the factories, and in which the whole of national and international life is increasingly organised around the model of speculation and debt.
It became the paradigmatic model for the organisation of capitalism for some decades thereafter. Lenin approved of it in as long as the rationalist-objectivism was separated from the capitalist motive.
Fordism’s decline has been exaggerated by theorists of post-industrial capitalism. In the US, because commerce, trade and transport were ‘subaltern’ rather than primary forms of economic activity – because, in effect, the entire life of the country was being organised around industrial production – hegemony could begin in the factory, and didn’t require much political or ideological mediation. He is sympathetic to feminism in one instance, resistant to sexual moralising.
Gramsci on the question offers valuable insights in what will later be the object of sociological research under the name of Taylorisation. He also blames its downfall on the upper classes, whom he says is the only social group with sufficient money abd leisure time to pursue drinking and free love.
In light of some of his earlier writings, for example on socialist education, it’s fair to say that Gramsci had a small-c socially conservative aspect to his outlook, which conflicted with his small-l vordism, and undermined his critique of the bourgeois state and the Catholic church.
Le Colonel Chabert [see archives ]. Again, geographic variations and uneven development play a key role here, determining the pace of development and the morphology of the political terrain. Gramsci perceived Fordism as a relatively progressive tendency away from individualism and competition, toward planning and cooperation.