• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The realms of consumption have typically been seen to be distinct from those of work and production. This book examines how contemporary rhetorics and discourses of organizational change are breaking down such distinctions - with significant implications for the construction of subjectivities and identities at work. In particular, Paul du Gay shows how the capacities and predispositions required of consumers and those required of employees are increasingly difficult to distinguish. Both consumers and employees are represented as autonomous, responsible, calculating individuals. They are constituted as such in the language of consumer cultures and the all-pervasive discourses of enterprise whereby persons are required to be

Governing Organizational Life
Governing organizational life

In his 1938 lecture on ‘A category of the human mind: the notion of person, the notion of “self”’, Marcel Mauss (1979) articulated what was to become one of the most scandalous axioms of the social sciences: the idea that the ‘person’ or the ‘self’ is a culturally and historically malleable category. Since then, anthropological evidence and historical research have indicated that the modern, Western ‘idea’ of the person as a largely coherent, rational, conscious and self-directed being is ‘a metaphysical fiction’ (Beechey and Donald, 1986: x; see also Hirst and Woolley, 1982). As Mauss (1979: 90) argued, ‘Who knows if this “category”, which all of us here today believe to be well founded, will always be recognized as such? ...

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