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Discipline and Governmentality at Work

Published Date: 6th August 2015

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Winiecki, Donald .J


How we know ourselves, how we are known by the institutions in which we work, and how we are known by our co-workers and our families is increasingly affected in a constantly changing network of technologies and strategies. As we enter the 21st century, these include computers and telecommunications, as well as management, ‘psy’ fields, and accounting. In the workplace, these technological forms are lashed together into systems and strategies that reflect a form of rationality and allow norms for seeing, representing and knowing work and workers to arise. These norms and forms produce distinctly modern forms of subjectivity, ‘truth’ and power to make workers into subjects. Tertiary (service) labour is the fastest growing form of paid work in the economic catchment of the West. Mediation of labour through computers and telecommunication is also increasing at a remarkable rate. Nonetheless, there are few detailed analyses of subjectivity in technology-mediated tertiary labour. Drawn from ethnographic research using post-structural analytics, Donald Winiecki’s book describes how a collection of technologies is taken up in a common form of tertiary labour – call centres – to produce ‘truth’, knowledge, power and modern forms of subjectivity and social subjects. It also challenges assumptions of Marxian and management theory by demonstrating that workers are neither dominated nor liberated, rather how they are made responsible for and caught up in the apparatus that renders them as subjects. This book provides a detailed look at the ‘genealogy of subjectivity’ at work. It shows ‘how we are now’ as a population whose selves and subjectivity are produced face-to-face with technology-mediated systems.