The Desire for Autonomy

The desire for autonomy seems so powerful that it can take quite perverse forms. In factory settings, where the assembly line is fine-tuned to reduce autonomy to the vanishing point, workers manage nonetheless to steal back autonomous time for "horseplay" as an expression of independence. Auto workers on the line at River Rouge rush to get ahead so they can find a corner to doze in or read or to play a dangerous game of rivet hockey. Workers in socialist Hungary stole time to make "homers" - small lathe pieces for themselves - even when they had no earthly use for them. In a system of work devised to exterminate "play; the workers refuse this objectification and boredom, asserting their autonomy in creative ways.