Jasper Bernes: The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization (2017)

24 April 2018, dusan

“A novel account of the relationship between postindustrial capitalism and postmodern culture, this book looks at American poetry and art of the last fifty years in light of the massive changes in people’s working lives. Over the last few decades, we have seen the shift from an economy based on the production of goods to one based on the provision of services, the entry of large numbers of women into the workforce, and the emergence of new digital technologies that have transformed the way people work. The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization argues that art and literature not only reflected the transformation of the workplace but anticipated and may have contributed to it as well, providing some of the terms through which resistance to labor was expressed. As firms continue to tout creativity and to reorganize in response to this resistance, they increasingly rely on models of labor that derive from values and ideas found in the experimental poetry and conceptual art of decades past.”

Publisher Stanford University Press, 2017
Post ’45 series
ISBN 9780804796415, 0804796416
viii+231 pages

Reviews: Stevphen Shukaitis (Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, 2017), Julian Murphet (Affirmations, 2017), Vince Carducci (Public Seminar, 2017).



Kurt Johansson: Aleksej Gastev: Proletarian Bard of the Machine Age (1983)

21 October 2013, dusan

This book attempts to give an outline of Aleksej Gastev’s life and works primarily up until 1920.

Aleksej Gastev (1882-1941?) belonged to the Russian proletarian intelligent­sia. He was an active revolutionary, a journalist with syndicalist leanings, a metal-worker and trade-union leader, and one of the best proletarian poets. In later years he became perhaps the most important champion of the Taylor system and scientific management in Russia; as the founder and leader of the Institute of Labour (CIT) in Moscow he trained hundreds of thousands of new workers for Soviet industry. In 1938 he fell a victim to the Stalinist terror.

Besides presenting his biography, the present study tries to trace the development of Gastev’s Utopian ideas about the creation of a New Man suited to the industrial society of the future. In his articles and poems the worker is so Intimately fused with machines that he adopts their rhythm and functional movements, himself becoming “mechanical”. One chapter is specially devoted to Gastev’s poetry, the collection Poézija rabočego udara (“The Poetry of the Factory Floor”). Four prose poems are analyzed in detail. These describe the future development of the proletariat, and also show how Gastev ‘s manner of writing gradually becomes a kind of “Taylorized” poetry, that has been strongly influenced by futurism.

Publisher Almqvist & Wiksell International, Stockholm, 1983
Stockholm Studies in Russian Literature series
ISBN 9122006141
170 pages


PDF (updated on 2013-12-8)