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Creating the New Worker

This book shows the relationship between the changing nature of capitalism and the creation of the new man and woman. Specifically the focus is on the origins and fate of the new worker in Late Capitalism. The book combines a Gramscian critique of contemporary patterns of capitalist labour control and Lacanian psychoanalysis to account for the development of new forms of social subordination including the context for social emancipation.
All the demonstrations are based on empirical analyses of diverse fields: car and aeronautical design, job centers, rail transportations, advertising, and so on. A chapter questions the work of the customers and economic or political meanings of these transformations. The book ends by offering two scenarios: one is the continuation of the current situation with the ecological, migratory, and disasters of inequality (with a return to urban violence) which are entirely predictable; the second scenario suggests an enchanted future when all these questions are resolved by social innovation and the supersession of capitalism.

 

Endorsements
This book interrogates the myths that surround the changing nature of work, which is essential if we are to navigate through the many challenges – both material and ideological – that these transformations bring. Durand helps clarify the reality of what is going on, and presents careful consideration of the many tensions related to employment and consumption that are emerging. This is an important intervention that provides critical reflection on the changes occurring in spaces of work (Miguel Martinez Lucio, Professor of International HRM & Comparative Industrial Relations, University of Manchester, UK).

With historical vision, Jean-Pierre Durand advances a theory of the contemporary worker, searching for meaning and recognition in a precarious world where the line between consumer and producer disappears.  A decisive contribution to the new labor studies (Michael Burawoy, Professor at Berkeley University, USA, and former President of the International Sociological Association).

The Palgrave Handbook of the Sociology of Work in Europe

This book explores the key conceptual features of the development of the Sociology of Work (SoW) in Europe since 1945, using eleven country case studies. An original contribution to our understanding of the trajectory of the SoW, the chapters map the current state of the theoretical background of the sub-dlscipline’s development to broader socio­political and economic changes, traced across a heterogeneous set of national contexts. Different definitions of the SoW in each country often reflect variations in the focus of analysis, and these chapters link the subject definition and focus to other social science disciplines, the state, as well as social class interests and ideologies. The book contends that the ways in which the sub-discipline makes sense of changes in work is itself a response to the type of society in which the sub-discipline is practiced, whether in the post-war social democratic West, the Soviet East, or today’s societies, dominated by variant forms of neo-liberalism. It will be of use to scholars and students interested in the transnational history of the discipline of sociology, with a specific focus on the nexus between the sociology of labour, ideology, economics and politics.

Paul Stewart is Senior Research Professor at Grenoble School of Management, France, and formerly Professor of Sociology, University of Strathclyde, UK where he was coordinator of the Marie Curie ITN ‘Changing Employment’ Programme. Jean-Pierre Durand is Professor of Sociology, University d’Évry Paris-Saclay, France, and Editor­founder of La Nouvelle Revue du Travail. Maria-Magdalena Richea is Marie Curie ITN Alumna, ‘ChangingEmployment’ Post-Doctoral Experienced Researcher, University of Strathclyde, UK.

 

La fabrique de l’homme nouveau


Cet ouvrage montre la rupture anthropologique en cours dans le travail et dans la consommation du citoyen. L’avènement du lean ma­nagement s’est accompagné d’une promotion de l’autonomie et de la responsabilisation au travail pour tous. Mais les exigences du capitalisme ont ren­forcé l’encadrement des salariés (et des travailleurs indépendants) de bas en haut de l’édifice productif dans l’industrie et dans les services privés ou pu­blics. Les résistances sont rares dans un contexte d’af­faiblissement du syndicalisme : l’augmentation des charges de travail et le nouveau management (souvent brutal sous des apparences participatives) ont conduit à une détérioration de la santé au travail et à la multiplication des suicides sur les lieux de travail.

Les promesses d’autonomie et de satisfaction dans le travail ne sont pas tenues et les travailleurs doivent « réamenager » leur psychisme pour survivre. Il en est exactettent de même dans la consommation où les engagements des offreurs sont très rarement remplis, en premier lieu dans les services (téléphonie, services internet, transports, VPC…) : le consommateur doit subir l’impersonnalité de ses correspondants (boîte vocale), l’absence de réponse à ses réclamations, se soumettre à la mauvaise qualité du service et accep­ter de modeler son esprit. Telles sont les conditions d’émergence de l’homme nouveau (déjà perçu par Gramsci comme pétri par le capitalisme) qui rétracte ses aspirations à la liberté et au bonheur.

Alliant les analyses micro-sociologiques aux causes macro-économiques, l’auteur déconstruit les concepts et les pratiques de l’évaluation, de la reconnaissance, du travail des clients, etc. Il conclut sur deux scéna­rios, l’un de régression sociale et l’autre d’un futur en­chanté, sans oublier les questions de l’environnement ou de l’intensification des migrations internationales avant de débattre d’alternatives incertaines.

 

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