Literacies, Occupations and Prestige Scales. New Relationships.
Rovira i Virgili University, Spain
This communication presents the main findings obtained from a cross-national empirical research aimed at analysing the role that traditional and new literacies play in current employment relations. Since information is linguistically encoded, informational capitalism makes of literacies a central issue of the production processes, demanding new skills to its workers. Literacies become, thus, a key component of productivity, employability, wages and control. This research has conducted a factorial analysis focused on the examination of the linguistic needs described in the definition of the more than 800 occupations included in the two main international systems of occupational classification (ILO and US Department of Labor). We have also considered variables from prior data bases (O’NET) such as literacy and numeracy, digital competences or social competences of communication. Finally, the different occupations have been classified according to their linguistic intensity. The compilation of the data has configured a scale of Linguistic Specialization at Work (ELT), whose outputs have been compared with those from occupational prestige scales (mainly ISEI, SIOPS and the Spanish prestige scale PRESCA 2). Results show that the mentioned prestige scales deviate when measuring the linguistic needs and competences asked in today jobs. Conclusions are aimed to show how new literacies demanded in occupations should be included to improve current and future occupational prestige scales.
“A Living Organism”: Interaction and Social Order in a Techno-social Milieu
1Hacettepe University, Turkey; 2İzmir Katip Çelebi University, Turkey
An ever-growing strand of works on human, technology and their interaction proliferate in social sciences. Hardly do they oppose the argument that the more advanced technology becomes, the more intense interaction is but most of them tend to approach it as an embedded feature of technology. On the contrary, a highly synergistic relationship between technology and society, not to mention others, is at the core of this interaction.
This paper examines the organization and social order in an ideal of team work including machines, around which they are assembled and through which they are maintained. Based on an extensive fieldwork as part of an airline staff for over a year and in-depth interviews, it explores how a flight gains meaning and scope extending beyond the concrete meaning to an abstract metaphor to include aircraft and staff. Immersed in a technology setting, teams are organized so as to manage flights working with machines. Aircraft becomes an abtract space, a virtual and social image that binds a team together. This reveals the ways in which a particular relationship and organizational form are produced, presence of a virtual, social body is invoked in flight operations and the energy is chanelled to teamwork. Although human-machine interaction has been a major factor in aviation for some time, this kind of organization is aimed at meeting the needs of current flexible work place. It frames new horizons where industry, society and technology intersect.
The Multi-Temporal Political Economy of Financialisation: The Case of UK Pensions Provision and Inter-Generational Justice
Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
The individualisation and liberalisation of pensions provision is in many ways the progenitor of the process of financialisation. Pensions provision depends on the manipulation of temporalities, by projecting a future which provision in the present seeks to serve. Past, present and future workers and savers are deemed to conform to these imagined futures, thereby situating inter-generational co-operation as the core feature of all forms of pensions saving, whether publicly or privately organised. Yet the futures imagined by pensions provision can never come to pass. The future will always be different to that which is forecast, precisely because generational change is endemic.
This paper explores this issue with reference to recent developments in UK pensions provision (in a comparative context), which have seen the state pension ‘simplified’ and retrenched, and occupational pensions being reorganised as individualised provision. Financialisation is often seen as the root of these changes, insofar as it encompasses the reinforcement of ‘shareholder value’ in corporate governance, the emergence of ‘asset-based welfare’ and the state’s increasing concern about fiscal risks. However, the intensifying contradictions of the UK’s capitalist development model have undermined pensions provision, and pensions provision has actually driven financialisation elsewhere in the economy, by necessitating an expansion of financial practices to the public sector and private sector more generally.
Perversely, the unspoken inter-generational bargains at the heart of pensions provision have become increasingly politicised in the UK as a result. The paper considers whether pensions provision can be rescued from the vicious circle of financialisation’s political economy, and indeed whether we can rescue a ‘generational’ analytical lens to help us understand the temporality of financialisation, without depicting generational relations as inherently conflictual.