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3 - The Ideological Meaning of Exploitative Work Forms

from Part I - Problems in Analyses of Meaningful Work

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2023

Knut Laaser
Affiliation:
University of Stirling
Jan Ch. Karlsson
Affiliation:
Karlstads Universitet, Sweden
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Summary

In this chapter, we explore this possibility when it comes to the three most known exploitative work forms slavery, serfdom and wage labour. It turns out that they all have an attached ideology, explaining why respective way of organising work is the only morally good and therefore meaningful one. Each work form is portrayed as the single one being beneficial to all involved and thereby meaningful to all. Slavery is good for slave owners as well as slaves, serfdom for feudal lords as well as serfs, wage labour for capitalists as well as wage labourers. Each ideology also says that all other work forms are morally reprehensible and therefore meaningless. The aim of the chapter is to illustrate that the theorisation of the concept of work in the way we suggest opens up the possibility of comparative studies of the meaning of different work forms.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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