Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Philosophy

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 181 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kristen Hessler

Committee Members

Aaron Major, Jon Mandle


Labour Process, Political Externalities, Workplace Democracy, Democracy, Capitalism, Labor, Division of labor, Political participation, Alienation (Social psychology)

Subject Categories

Labor Economics | Philosophy | Sociology


My dissertation focuses on elaborating a problem for democratic political institutions posed by an externality of the capitalist labour-process, particularly for more participatory conceptions of democracy and democratic citizenship. I argue that the labour-process under capitalism causes a transformation in the skill-level and personality of worker-citizens. In the main, the direction of this transformation is towards workers who lack important deliberative skills enabling them to effectively participate in democratic politics. If one is committed to democracy as a means of collective self-government, then this negative transformation, or deformation, should be troubling. If the labour-process under capitalism deprives workers of the opportunity to develop important democratic political skills through the imposition of a profit-maximizing division of labour within the firm, then workers who are so deprived, when taking up their responsibilities as citizens of a democratic polity, will, as a result of their workplace conditions, be ill prepared to engage in the process of democratic collective self-government. When citizens who are ill prepared to participate in democratic politics compose a large share of the citizens of the polity, then democratic political institutions will not function well. I am presenting this negative effect on democratic political institutions as an externality from the capitalist labour-process.