• 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

Setting Limits to Enterprise
Setting limits to enterprise

Attempting to gain some critical purchase on the blurring of boundaries between work and consumption identities is an endeavour fraught with difficulties. Simple generalizations about the enabling/constraining effects of such shifts are apt to founder quite quickly upon the rock of difference. For, as we have seen in Chapters 6 and 7, the consequences of ‘making up’ people at work as enterprising subjects are multiple, uneven and often seemingly contradictory. No simple objective picture emerges that could provide an unequivocal guide to critique.

Every picture of contemporary organizational reform is perspectival rather than transcendental. Representing the death of the ‘modern industrial worker’ as a universal tragedy, for example, is simply not feasible, as feminist scholars among many others have ...

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