[From Fred Nickols (2003.01.28.1800 EST)] --
This came to one of the lists I manage and I am convinced that someone
well-versed in PCT should have something to say to the folks attending this
The Ambiguities of Work: Controlling Knowledge, Controlling Outcomes
A conference at the Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware, Nov.
>From Adam Smith and Karl Marx through Harry Braverman and
Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., issues of knowledge and control
over economic activity have been central to the fields of
labor and business history. The famous aphorism attributed
to Big Bill Haywood, "The boss's brains are under the
workman's cap" captures these tensions, as do recent social
science explorations of embedded and tacit knowledge.
We invite papers rooted in historical, organizational, or
ethnographic analysis that explore the intersections,
struggles, and interrelationships over knowledge of work and
control of the workplace. Papers are welcome from scholars
based in the humanities, social sciences, or labor and
management studies. How have conflicts over knowledge and
power changed? Do tensions over knowledge generated in work
performed in non-profit environments (such as public sector
employment) have distinctive dynamics? How do the murky
borderlands of labor and management -- the shop foreman,
officer supervisor, petty entrepreneur, micro-capitalist,
engineer, computer programmer, scientist -- intersect with
struggles over knowledge? How does the mobilization of
skill draw on and develop distinct forms of knowledge? How
do policies by governments and the legal system influence
control over knowledge? To what extent do our definitions of
skill (both among workers and managers) rest upon their
possession of knowledge? In what environments do conflicts
over knowledge embody issues of gender and race? And to what
extent can such knowledge be codified, i.e. transferred from
those who possess it to those who employ them?
All paper proposals must be received by March 3, 2003 and
should consist of a one page proposal and short cv. We
prefer proposals submitted as an email attachment in MS WORD
and sent to <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com. Alternatively hard copies
sent to Roger Horowitz, Center for the History of Business,
Technology, and Society, Hagley Museum and Library, PO Box
3630, Wilmington DE 19807. Funds may be available to defray
the travel costs of presenters at the conference.
The conference is jointly sponsored by Labor History and the
Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society.
A special issue of Labor History will publish some of the
papers presented at the conference. Proposals are limited
to the Western Hemisphere but may focus on any period from
the colonial era through the 20th century.