The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 7 of 7

“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

In Defense of Bourdieu | Critical Commentary on Dylan Riley’s “Bourdieu’s Class Theory” in new journal: Catalyst by Jacobin Magazine

“This article is a critical commentary, hopefully also comically polemical, on an article by Dylan Riley, professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, written in the new journal Catalyst in Spring 2017. I think his article does an injustice to Bourdieu and those scholars that have continued to develop his sociology. It is an extremely long and thorough, although still not as thorough as it could be, article which I hope succeeds in at least combating Riley’s criticisms, many of which seem almost slanderous to me. I hope this article also provides a decent introduction to Bourdieu’s sociology for anyone interested. ” … More In Defense of Bourdieu | Critical Commentary on Dylan Riley’s “Bourdieu’s Class Theory” in new journal: Catalyst by Jacobin Magazine

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 5

“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 indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 4

“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

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 3

“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

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 2

“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

The indignity of service work | My experiences as a fast-food worker | Part 1

“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

Why Plymouth’s “Socialists” are deluded | Commentary on another poor article by the local rag

A commentary on a terrible Plymouth Herald article about the delusions of the local Socialist Party Branch. One section showing how I was harassed last time I criticised the Plymouth Herald. A final section summarising my experiences of working with the Socialist Party last year. It’s all bad. … More Why Plymouth’s “Socialists” are deluded | Commentary on another poor article by the local rag

What Do Final Year BSc Sociology Students Actually Do? | Media & State Studies Seminar Part 3: Media Imperialism

“For this series, I would like to give a taste of what it is sociology, as one of the most denigrated sciences online, is actually like. The structure of this assignment, which I am reproducing here mostly unedited, was quite unusual compared to most work undertaken for this subject- essays and some fieldwork- but I think illustrates the variety of ways final year study is done.
In this seminar we discussed how more up to date theories of media imperialism must take into account the complexity of cultural transmission, how audiences actively interpret media according to their own cultural understandings and how new evidence conflicts or supports the media imperialism thesis.” … More What Do Final Year BSc Sociology Students Actually Do? | Media & State Studies Seminar Part 3: Media Imperialism

What Do Final Year BSc Sociology Students Actually Do? | Media & State Studies Seminar Part 2: Elections & New Media

“For this series, I would like to give a taste of what it is sociology, as one of the most denigrated sciences online, is actually like. The structure of this assignment, which I am reproducing here mostly unedited, was quite unusual compared to most work undertaken for this subject- essays and some fieldwork- but I think illustrates the variety of ways final year study is done.
In this seminar we discussed the extent to which TV can be considered a primary factor influencing voter decisions and how the increasing demographic shift towards a voter base constituted by, what some theorists call “the digital generation” implies an impending change in political strategy, if it has not already happened as some evidence suggests.” … More What Do Final Year BSc Sociology Students Actually Do? | Media & State Studies Seminar Part 2: Elections & New Media