Fall 2019 - LBST 308 D100

The Labour Process: Technological Change and the Future of Work (3)

Class Number: 3945

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 10655, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Benjamin Anderson
    Office Hours: WE 13:00-15:00
  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



Technological change and globalization are constantly transforming the nature of work under capitalism. These transformations are examined in the historical development of work, the changing nature of the labour process and how automation and artificial intelligence might transform work in the future. Breadth-Social Sciences.


The capitalist mode of production is commonly seen as a rationally organized extension of some kind of natural human progress. Mainstream economics extol the virtues of private enterprise assuming a level playing field and a general tendency for markets to benefit society as a whole. What these narratives ignore (or usher away through scientistic abstraction) is the productive human activity at the heart of production and the ways in which this human activity is both a crucial ingredient and key contradiction to the productive enterprise writ large. This course will challenge mainstream assumptions of the labour process by considering how the division of labour, the innovation of new managerial and technological processes, and the globalization of productive networks shape our collective working lives.

The course begins with an historical survey of the imperatives of the capitalist mode of production and the ways in which these led to the increasing need for a complex division of labour, first through industrial practices, later through the intensification and fragmentation of managerial procedure, and finally through a globally dispersed and gendered workforce. Through our readings and discussions, we will consider more than the advent of industrial technologies and automation, probing the work subjectivities and identities with which these intersect. Ultimately, our journey will be one that takes us from the rationalized spaces of high industry to the highly stratified global division of labour—from factory work to knowledge work and back again.


Students will be challenged to think critically about the complex and ever changing world of work especially as this relates to the intersections between technology and ideology.


  • Participation and journal 10%
  • Midterm exam 40%
  • In-class presentation 10%
  • Final paper 40%


Grading: The letter grade N (incomplete) is given when a student has enrolled for a course, but did not write the final examination or otherwise failed to complete the coursework, and did not withdraw from the course before the deadline date. An N is considered and F for purposes of scholastic standing. 

Grading System: Undergraduate Course Grading System is A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, F, N (N standing to indicate the student did not complete).

A+ 95-100 B+ 80-84 C+ 65-69 D 50-54
A 90-94 B 75-79 C 60-64 F 0-49
A- 85-89 B- 70-74 C- 55-59  

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



All course readings will be made available electronically through Canvas or via e-mail.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html