Taylorism, Working Class Resistance, Scientific Management, Modernity, Canada, Social History, Labour


This essay looks at the ways Frederick Winslow Taylor's distinctly modern theories of scientific management (i.e. Taylorism) transformed Canadian workplaces in the early 20thcentury. In particular, it shows how Taylorism negatively impacted Canadian workers' lives, and examines the various ways that workers consequently resisted Taylorist methods. The essay argues that though workers were unable to stop the widespread implementation of Taylorism and its normalization in Canadian workplaces, their resistance to Taylorism still played an important role in unionist and radical political movements which gradually gained important concessions and rights for Canadian workers during the first half of the 20thcentury. Additionally, the essay argues that resistance was significant as an outlet for workers to retain bodily autonomy in work environments which increasingly aimed to make workers more machine-like. Ultimately, the essay highlights important ways that the Canadian working class has exercised historical agency via solidarity and perseverance.

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I would like to thank Dr. Miriam Wright for her excellent suggestions and feedback.

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