Patterns of Power Relations: Sabotage, Organisation, Conformity & Adjustment


  • Jeffrey Harrod University of Amsterdam



Casual work, corporation, enterprise, models of political economy, power relations, work, self-employment, social formations.,


The purpose of this paper is to consider what findings an approach to work and production using different patterns of power relations could possibly yield concerning the responses to conditions which have emerged since the so-called 2008 crisis. Different theories and approaches to analysis of labour have different predictive outcomes from the material changes incorporated in recessionary conditions. The predictive outcomes of the power relations approach are contrasted with some contemporary trends. At the level of the political economy the approach allows a focus on the corporation and the power relations within and external to it. At the level of workplace, and based on preliminary and partial evidence for categories of power relations surrounding casual work, smaller enterprises, self-employment and corporate employment indicate that the expected dynamics of power relations are confirmed except in the case of corporate employment where responses are individual rather than organised. There is weak evidence of different organisations appearing within casual and precarious work. In general, however, it is argued that the approach provides greater flexibility and better possibilities for devising both policies and strategies to confront the current attempts to increase disciplinary power for the purpose of greater extraction.