“Although after years of higher education have allowed me to reflect on the experience and articulate it, these experiences were hardly unique and reflect the harsh, dull reality of millions of workers. It’s not difficult to find these types of critique throughout the world of contemplative thought. I only repeat them here as examples to highlight the point that this kind of criticism of our working life is not uncommon, however I feel that much of this critique does not offer much in the way of realistic ways out of this predicament. I think a key part of overcoming these obstacles is realising that the social position of the worker is the most important category that links these situations and imbues those subordinate to them with common interests to transcend the current system.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 7 of 7
“Using dramaturgical analysis, we see here how the actors need to perform convincingly enough that the audience doesn’t have the illusion of the overall interaction shattered- this is called impression management. Here, positive affect is a goal of the corporation because it increases profits but this extra work, which Arlie Hochschild labels “emotional labour” isn’t considered renumerable work.
This emotional labour not only compounds the exploitation of the worker, as they produce more surplus value for their employer, but it is a more obvious example of the alienation caused by capitalism.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 6
“[Diane] Reay points out how some sociological theories consider class identities consist of the practices and accounts of such practices done by members of a class, but she believes that how members of a class think and feel about those practices is a key, yet overlooked, feature of class identity. […] there is a psychic economy implicit in the reproduction of social classes whereby social class causes psychic effects which contribute to the reproduction of class, which cause psychic effects on that class that reproduce it again, and so on. […] Reay shows how experiences [of school] might not show explicit knowledge of social class, but at least an implicit understanding about class differences which effect their attitudes and practices. [In this series] I will also be reflecting on some of my own experiences of school as I think they have effected my own thoughts and practices.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 1: Introduction
“I believe that the uncritical acceptance of such methods is a result of the inculcation of values of propriety and the normalisation of examination (practices which are so generalised in modern society, they led Foucault to call it “the disciplinarian society”). Having eyes upon you, whether of the state or one’s employer (in reductionist terms, both can easily be conceived as collaborators in class domination, hence enemies/dominators of the working class and so indistinguishable in that regard) is just a part of daily proletarian life in contemporary British society.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 5
“The pathetic value and arbitrariness of rewards at foodchain made the punishment aspect of games the main incentive for competition. Some of these punishments, as discussed in the earlier part of this series, were explicit, however, some were seemingly (and possibly) accidental side-effects. […] Beyond the unfairness of rewards and punishments, and the arbitration involved in the allocation of them, the sales game itself was rigged.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 4
“As it stands right now, there is little to no protection for the average U.S. worker and this lack of protection often leads to a subdued work force that will tolerate any abuse from an employer.
This personal account, while only encompassing employment at one company, has been indicative of my experience in the corporate world of the U.S. and the unethical business practices that have become all too common.” … More Experiences in Corporate America: Workers Rights | Guest Article by writer Dylan Yoki
“At foodchain, the objective of the game was to maximise certain types of additional sales and compete with fellow workers on daily scoreboards, displayed for all workers to see. Falling below a certain threshold cumulative score for the week could result in penalisation and winning meant possible rewards. Domination is more apparent when considering penalisation might include being made redundant, or more perniciously, scheduling less hours of work for the “losing” worker.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 3
“In an article comparing Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about domination being based on a somewhat consensual hegemonic order with Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas about domination being partly resultant from a misrecognition of social domination by the dominated, Michael Burawoy talks about his experiences working on a factory shop floor. Burawoy talks about the types of concessions given by management to the workers in order to legitimise and make more consensual their relationship, which is analogous Burawoy and others like Gramsci could claim, to the class relationship in broader society, between capitalists and proletarians. One of the sources of consent-making identified by Burawoy was the consititution of work as a game.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 2
“I have wanted to re-write this essay for years but have held back due to a lack of time and, more importantly, because it brings up painful memories. I did, and will, abstract away from the contents of my empirical experience to make arguments about how the structuring of experience and lack of agency and expression possible for workers is evidence that capitalist society is immoral (if we can assume so much without getting into a debate about meta-ethics) but it is paramount to understanding this thesis that you keep in mind that the data provided here is not itself some abstract fantasy used to support the argument, but my real lived experience.” … More The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 1
” […] The kind of speed and mastery you get from playing an instrument allows you to do more, it unleashes potential, it increases the potentias that makes the soul of a man. The mastery of the pickle placement is like the increasing speed of a robot as technology develops- I don’t want to develop like a robot- I am not Aristotle’s talking tool. […] All of my possible futures, the options for how to be, burn away the more I become the burger robot, and the less human I feel. Theses futures don’t just disappear like usual, potentials for things that could have been but did not, they disappear into a true void of things that could never be and will never be- I am less free. Yet to resist means to quit, not to resign is the biggest sign of resignation.” … More Personal Thoughts | January 2016 | On the Destruction of my (im)Potentias & Resignation as Resistance