research help on socialization

John K. Taber jktaber at
Thu Sep 17 03:22:52 PDT 1998

Doug Henwood wrote:
> [this forward from Michael E bounced]
> Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 11:41:52 -0400
> Reply-To: H-Net Labor History Discussion List <H-LABOR at H-NET.MSU.EDU>
> Sender: H-Net Labor History Discussion List <H-LABOR at H-NET.MSU.EDU>
> From: seth widgerson <sethw at>
> Subject: Socialization of the Forces of Production
> Who can help Paul Adler with this interesting query? SW
> - - - - - - - - - - - -
> For research I am doing on the history of work organization, I have been
> trying to track down the various uses of the marxist concept of
> "socialization of [the forces of] production."
> The corresponding entry in Tom Bottomore's "Dictionary of Marxist" thought
> was not particularly helpful, focusing only on the forms of collective
> property under socialism. Marx, of course, also saw the socialization of
> the forces of production as an important vector of development under
> capitalism. But what does socialization mean in that context?
> The standard interpretation focuses on (a) a growing interdependence of
> branches of industry in an increasingly complex pattern of social division
> of labor, and (b) a growing reliance of all branches of industry on a
> common stock of scientific [therefore somewhat public] knowledge. In
> standard marxist theory, capitalist relations of production are seen as an
> increasingly limiting constraint on these trends.
> Back in the 1970s and 80s, a French labor sociologist, Ph. Zarifian, made
> some interesting, creative use of the socialization concept to analyze
> organization-level changes in work organization. Have other scholars done
> much with the concept?
> My impression is that it has not received much attention, perhaps due to
> new-leftist disparagement of the causal role "Moscow-style" marxism
> attributed to the development of the forces of production in the overall
> dynamic of history...
> Any leads would be appreciated!
> Paul Adler
> University of Southern California
> <padler at>

There was some literature on socialization of work concerning programmers back in the late 70s and early 80s. See Joan Greenbaum, _In the Name of Efficiency_. From there, check her bibliography for more leads.

The book is about the struggle of programmers to "keep" their work, and the determined effort of management to alienate programmers from their work.

She suggested a "collective" organization for programming, but I don't remember clear details on how several collectives would coordinate among themselves.

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