The nature and transformation of communal socialism: a case study of Kibbutz industry

Warhurst, Christopher (1994) The nature and transformation of communal socialism: a case study of Kibbutz industry. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The thesis analyses the specificity of kibbutz work organisation. Although also engaging secondary data, utilising a qualitative methodology, empirical data is drawn from a case study kibbutz and its industrial plant. By reference to labour process and neo-institutionalist analyses, this data suggests that the organisation and development of kibbutz industry as a deliberate social construct cannot be adequately understood from the embeddedness of that industry within the kibbutz process, the (pm-) national polity of Israel and the market economy. Further, that embeddedness creates tensions within the management process of kibbutz industry, involving the inability of managers to formally organise and control the labour process, whilst yet expected to make that labour process commensurate with market exigencies. Moreover, the logic of
accumulation exerts a transformatory dynamic upon that labour process. Representing the main economic activity of the kibbutz, the industrial labour process is the most immediate and important point of articulation between kibbutz and market economy, such that those delegated the management of kibbutz industrial enterprise on behalf of the kibbutz community must manage those tensions and thereby negotiate the relationship between kibbutz and market economy. The thesis demonstrates that these managers, attempting to negotiate the tensions arising from that embeddedness and articulation initiate transformatory processes within the network of social relations and economic culture of the kibbutz as it shapes the industrial labour process in order to affect market commensurability.

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