The proletariat does not literally own nothing. The point really is not ownership at all but power and control. As Stan Weir and others have noted, at least in the US workers typically lose otherwise accessible democratic rights that they have outside the job. This is part of the doctrine of at-will employment. In a sense, within certain limits, this renders the workplace private in the way in which the home under couverture is private. It might be interesting to look at the changes in these doctrines over time and to what degree they may have inter-related. I’m also interested in a resonance between these and other themes which may be just metaphorical. That is, married women under couverture and workers might be said in a way to be legally disabled (often with attendant attempts to prove that this was justifiable due to inherent and biological disabilities which required subordinate social status). Did these legal disabilities relate at all the legal treatment of those who were in whatever fashion disabled physically or mentally? (Bracketing admittedly important questions about the meaning of this term.)

Advertisements