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Consumption and Identity at Work

Consumption and Identity at Work

February 1996 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The realms of consumption have typically been seen to be distinct from those of work and production. Consumption and Identity At Work examines how contemporary rhetoric and discourse of organizational change and reform are breaking down such distinctions--with significant implications for the construction of subjectivities and identities at work. Drawing on his own research, author Paul du Gay builds a cogent and sophisticated picture of how discourses of reform take hold in particular contexts, how they construct particular subject positions for employees to occupy, and how the latter negotiate these identities in their everyday working lives. In this intriguing study, du Gay shows how the capacities and predispositions required of customers and those required of employees are increasingly difficult to distinguish. Both customers and employees are represented as autonomous, responsible, and calculating individuals in society. They've been constituted as such in the language of consumer culture and the all-pervasive discourses of enterprise whereby persons are required to be entrepreneurs of the self, at work at play, and in all aspects of their life. Combining theoretical and empirical research on the new articulations that are emerging in the government of organizational life, and organizational and personal identity, Consumption and Identity at Work will be essential reading for academics and students in organization theory and behavior, management studies, sociology, and cultural studies.

The Subjects of Production
The Production of Subjects
Governing Organizational Life
The Cult[ure] of the Customer
Retailing and the De-Differentiation of Economy and Culture
Re-Imagining Organizational Identities
Consuming Organization
Setting Limits to Enterprise
Appendix: Research Details

`In a significant contribution to social theory and a fascinating ethnography of work in retailing, Paul du Gay combines approaches from cultural studies and the sociology of work and management to illuminate a key aspect of modern life' - Stephen Hill, London School of Economics and Political Science

`The book fizzes with all sorts of interesting ideas.... In Chapter 7, du Gay also offers a very thought-provoking account of the dynamics of conflict within contemporary organisations.... The book has numerous other strengths. It is clearly written and contains good summaries of some theoretical debates which will be useful in teaching (for example, the lucid summary of some of the key elements of post-structuralist thought in Chapter 2).... there is no doubt that du Gay has defined a distinctive perspective on work and identity which will command attention and that he offers numerous important insights into the changing nature of paid employment in contemporary Britain' - Work, Employment and Society

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