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division of labour

  An aspect of the relations of production of society which involves the separation of tasks within the labour process and their allocation to different groups of workers. Two forms are commonly identified:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Social division of labour — the division of workers between product sectors (e.g. \'car workers\' or \'textile workers\'). {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Technical division of labour — the division of the production process into tasks, and the specialization of workers in one or a small number of these (e.g. managers, supervisors and assembly workers).To these we may add the following:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Gender division of labour — in which specific jobs are assigned to men or women: in western societies nurses tend to be women, and coal miners men. This extends beyond paid employment, so that unwaged domestic labour is largely performed by women (see gender and geography; patriarchy). {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Cultural division of labour — according to the theory of internal colonialism (Hechter, 1975) regional minorities bear the same relationship to the majority as a colony does to the metropolitan power under colonialism. The periphery supplies the core with raw materials and labour, forming a division of labour between the minority and majority cultures (see core-periphery model). {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } International division of labour — characteristically, less-developed countries produce raw materials and developed countries produce manufactured goods. More recently, a new international division of labour has involved the development by multinational corporations of production facilities in less-developed countries, although normally at the routine and low-skill end of the production process. This is a special case of: {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } Spatial division of labour — a concept proposed by Massey (1984), which involves the concentration of particular sectors and/ or production tasks in specific geographical areas.According to Sayer (1995), geographers and other social scientists, particularly those working in the Marxian tradition, have underestimated the significance of the division of labour in the organization of economic activity. Sayer argues that the complexities of modern industrial economies are such that they cannot feasibly be centrally planned (cf. central planning), and nor can the social division of labour be abolished. For Sayer, this means that traditional Marxist approaches to geographical change must be rethought to recognize that the political challenges posed by the division of labour would not disappear with the transition to a post-capitalist society. (See also Sayer and Walker, 1992.) (JP)

References Hechter, M. 1975: Internal colonialism. London: Routledge. Massey, D. 1984: Spatial divisions of labour. London: Macmillan. Sayer, A. 1995: Radical political economy: a critique. Oxford: Blackwell. Sayer, A. and Walker, R. 1992: The new social economy: reworking the division of labour. Oxford: Blackwell.



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