From hot metal to cold type: Labour process theory and new technology in the newspaper industry (1983)
AuthorsHill, R. M.show all
Newspaper production in New Zealand has been radically transformed in the past five years by computer-based and associated technologies. This thesis is based on a case study of one metropolitan newspaper, The Star, which covered three of those years. The study examines the introduction at The Star of a computer-based system of newspaper production, and the implications of this system for job opportunity, control and skill. The study uses Braverman's analysis, in Labor and Monopoly Capital, to document the process of change at The Star and to extend the theoretical analysis of the labour process. A key argument of the thesis is that computer technology sets limits to, but does not determine, job structure. An understanding of how and why people's jobs and skills are affected must be sought in relations of conflict and alliance forged within and between groups of employers and workers in the newspaper industry. Relations between different groups of workers at both national and shop-floor level were influenced, in important ways, by internal labour markets based on objectively-determined and subjectively-perceived skill differentials - in which gender-based ideological assumptions played a crucial role.