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Narrating industry and labour

A recently published study retraces 40 years of analyses on factories and labourers

Going back to the history of labour in order to better understand our current circumstances and therefore sow good seeds for the future. Retrieving the knowledge of past events to better comprehend the present is not a new concept, though it remains a valid one, especially in these modern times marked by growing complexities. As always, guides providing an overview of the situation are more than welcome, and guidance is indeed what Pietro Causarano’s work entitled “Da un secolo all’altro: leggere il lavoro industriale” (“From a century to the other: reading industrial labour”) gives us, a contribution included in a recently published collection of papers about labour.

Causarano’s work offers an outline of the main studies that, over approximately the past 40 years, attempted to interpret and explain industrial labour. A period, it should be noted, that is not far from ours, though its beginnings go farther back in time. In fact, the last decades of the 20th century saw the old industrial models crumbling, while new and not yet fully defined ones emerged amongst international and local market crises.

Thus, the author reviews this period by looking at various studies and illustrating the main features that linked them to the debate that distinguished that era. What arises is the narrative of evolving interpretations and research in industrial and labour events in Italy, a narrative that also reveals changes in corporate culture. The shift from Fordism and Taylorism retraced by Causarano also shows a path (not always an easy one) leading to a different concept of industry and industrial relations – a path that is truly coming into its own only now, taking us towards increasingly complex corporate models that, nonetheless, more genuinely represent our times. A production culture that evolves in unison with the society from which it takes shape.

Da un secolo all’altro: leggere il lavoro industriale  (“From a century to the other: reading industrial labour”)

Pietro Causarano, in Fabrizio Loreto, Gilda Zazzara (curated by) Fondato sul lavoro. Scritti per Stefano Musso (Founded on labour. Writings for Stefano Musso), University of Turin, Department of Historical studies, 2022, 3-16

 

A recently published study retraces 40 years of analyses on factories and labourers

Going back to the history of labour in order to better understand our current circumstances and therefore sow good seeds for the future. Retrieving the knowledge of past events to better comprehend the present is not a new concept, though it remains a valid one, especially in these modern times marked by growing complexities. As always, guides providing an overview of the situation are more than welcome, and guidance is indeed what Pietro Causarano’s work entitled “Da un secolo all’altro: leggere il lavoro industriale” (“From a century to the other: reading industrial labour”) gives us, a contribution included in a recently published collection of papers about labour.

Causarano’s work offers an outline of the main studies that, over approximately the past 40 years, attempted to interpret and explain industrial labour. A period, it should be noted, that is not far from ours, though its beginnings go farther back in time. In fact, the last decades of the 20th century saw the old industrial models crumbling, while new and not yet fully defined ones emerged amongst international and local market crises.

Thus, the author reviews this period by looking at various studies and illustrating the main features that linked them to the debate that distinguished that era. What arises is the narrative of evolving interpretations and research in industrial and labour events in Italy, a narrative that also reveals changes in corporate culture. The shift from Fordism and Taylorism retraced by Causarano also shows a path (not always an easy one) leading to a different concept of industry and industrial relations – a path that is truly coming into its own only now, taking us towards increasingly complex corporate models that, nonetheless, more genuinely represent our times. A production culture that evolves in unison with the society from which it takes shape.

Da un secolo all’altro: leggere il lavoro industriale  (“From a century to the other: reading industrial labour”)

Pietro Causarano, in Fabrizio Loreto, Gilda Zazzara (curated by) Fondato sul lavoro. Scritti per Stefano Musso (Founded on labour. Writings for Stefano Musso), University of Turin, Department of Historical studies, 2022, 3-16