Discipline and Governmentality at Work

Making the Subject and Subjectivity in Modern Tertiary Labour

By Donald J. Winiecki

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. In the workplace, these technological forms are lashed together into systems and strategies that reflect a form of rationality and allow norms to arise - seeing, representing, and knowing work and workers. These norms and forms produce distinctly modern forms of subjectivity, 'truth', and power to make workers into subjects. Tertiary (service) labor is the fastest growing form of paid work in the economic catchment of the West. Mediation of labor through computers and telecommunication is also increasing at a remarkable rate. Nonetheless, there are few detailed analyses of subjectivity in technology-mediated tertiary labor. Drawn from ethnographic research using post-structural analytics, this book describes how a collection of technologies is taken up in a common form of tertiary labor - call centers - 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.

225 pages

Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781853439537