A Wartime Novel of Antifascist Organization, Work and Technology: and its Augury for a Failed Socialist Model of Management

Wednesday 13 November 2019, 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Venue

Charles Carter A18 - View Map

Open to

Postgraduates, Public, Staff

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Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

Professor Bill Cooke from University of York will present this seminar.

A Wartime Novel of Antifascist Organization, Work and Technology: and its Augury for a Failed Socialist Model of Management

This paper juxtaposes a novel about a WWII aircraft manufacturing plant, with the life and career of a leading contemporary British Socialist politician, and particularly, his attempts to articulate, and establish, a mode of management consistent with his socialist beliefs. The novel is J B Priestley’s 1943 Daylight on Saturday; and the politician is Sir Stafford Cripps (1887-1952). The novel follows a series of characters – archetypes – over 24 hours in the factor, and in their interactions addresses issues of politics, macro and micro, class, gender and technology in the organization of work. Much of what happens explicitly and implicitly is shaped by β€˜the Ministry’ – of Aircraft Production (MAP), headed by Cripps. In 1939, Cripps had been expelled from the Labour Party for his leftism. Yet in 1942-43, he was seen as Churchill’s likely successor, and indeed his appointment to MAP is seen as Churchill’s co-optation of him. At the end of WWII he became, eventually, Labour’s chancellor, committed to an egalitarian model of productivity in which Britain would manufacture its way out of austerity. This was informed by, and modelled on his organizational reforms at MAP. However, for a variety of reasons his initiatives failed, not least for reasons foreshadowed in Priestley’s novel. Indeed, its arguable that what Cripps did do is open the door to the Americanization of British management, the consequences of which continued after his untimely death in 1952.

Contact Details

Name Dr Eve Ewington
Email

e.ewington@lancaster.ac.uk

Telephone number

+44 1524 593295