The New Spirit of Capitalism

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9781859845547: The New Spirit of Capitalism

In this major work, the sociologists Eve Chiapello and Luc Boltanski go to the heart of the changes in contemporary business culture.

Via an unprecedented analysis of the latest management texts that have formed the thinking of employers in their organization of business, the authors trace the contours of a new spirit of capitalism. They argue that from the middle of the 1970s onwards, capitalism abandoned the hierarchical Fordist work structure and developed a new network-based form of organization which was founded on employee initiative and autonomy in the workplace – a ‘freedom’ that came at the cost of material and psychological security.

The authors connect this new spirit with the children of the libertarian and romantic currents of the late 1960s (as epitomised by dressed-down. cool capitalists such as Bill Gates and ‘Ben and Jerry’) arguing that they practice a more successful and subtle form of exploitation.

In a work that is already a classic in Europe, Boltanski and Chiapello show how the new spirit triumphed thanks to a remarkable recuperation of the Left’s critique of the alienation of everyday life – a recuperation that simultaneously undermined the power of its social critique.

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About the Author:

Luc Boltanski teaches sociology at the EHESS, Paris. He is the author of numerous books, including The Making of a Class and The New Spirit of Capitalism.

Eve Chiapello is an associate professor at the HEC School of Management, Paris. She is the author of Artistes versus Managers.

Gregory Elliott is a member of the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy and author of Althusser: The Detour of Theory and Labourism and the English Genius: The Strange Decay of Labour England?.

Review:

“[A] vast and ambitious work, which is inscribed in a great tradition of theoretical and critical sociology.”—Le Monde

“This magnificent book [is] the sociology of a whole generation which capitalism caught on the wrong foot. In more than 800 pages which one devours like a great novel, the book furnishes new weapons for the renewal of the Left.”—Libération

“Ambitious and fascinating.”—Le Nouvel Observateur

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Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello
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