Accepted paper:

Workers, machines and neoliberal technologies: ethnography of a global factory


Marta Songin-Mokrzan (University of Lodz)

Paper short abstract:

The goal of the paper is to elaborate on the ergosystem of a production plant that is part of a multinational corporation. In particular, I will focus on the specificities of the sociotechnical assemblage and how it shapes the nature of work at the plant.

Paper long abstract:

In the paper I will refer to the ethnographic research I conducted between 2015 and 2016 in a production plant located in the Lower Silesia Province, in south-western Poland. The company in question is part of a global corporation in which the working environment can be viewed as a type of an "ergosystem": a special network of dependencies, relations, and negotiations, which includes both human and non-human actors. The everyday working experience is determined by an extensive information and IT infrastructure, consisting of sensors, programs, and networks that determine communication, managerial practices (including technologies of the self), production processes and the way workers approach their everyday tasks and challenges. Computers gather, store and partially analyze enormous amounts of data which is used to control, discipline and shape the behavior of people, materials, products, and machines. The goal of the paper is to elaborate on the specificities of that sociotechnical assemblage.

panel A12
Global capital as a local challenge: the anthropology of corporations