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

The Culture of the Customer

The culture of the customer

In Chapter 3 I indicated the ways in which the managerial discourse of excellence, operating as it were ‘from above’, constructs new ways for people to be at work. However, I said little or nothing about what those subjected to this discourse make or do with it. This is a significant omission for, as Laclau (1990) has argued, if subjects were simply the product of structures then a total determinism would govern social relations. Similarly, for Foucault (1982: 221), ‘freedom’ is an essential element in the relation between government and governed. There can be no relationship of government where the ‘determining factors saturate the whole’. In effect, what both Foucault and Laclau testify to is the ...

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