Sebastian Budgen on Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello, Le Nouvel esprit du capitalisme. A sequel to Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism . New Spirit of Capitalism,” Boltanski & Chiapello, ) attempts to This study of changes in the spirit of capitalism has revealed a major. New edition of this major work examining the development of neoliberalism In this established classic, sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello get.
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A NEW ‘SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM’
Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. 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 19 In this major work, the sociologists Eve Chiapello and Luc Boltanski go to the heart of the changes in contemporary business culture.
The authors connect this new spirit with the children of the libertarian and romantic currents of boltansli late s as epitomised by dressed-down. Hardcoverpages. Published September 17th by Verso first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The New Spirit of Capitalismplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The New Spirit of Capitalism. Lists with This Book. Every so often I find myself reading something that I regret having put off for so long, and this is one of those cases.
It is a vital contribution to the sociology of work, to social and cultural analyses of the ‘contemporary condition’, and to understandings of the current social order and contemporary politics: Boltanski and Chiapello have not set out to explore the material characteristics of contemporary capitalism — the tne and concentration of increasingly g Every so often I find myself reading something that I regret having mew off for so long, and this is one of those cases.
Boltanski and Chiapello have not set out to explore the material characteristics of contemporary capitalism — the organisation and concentration of increasingly globalised business, profit margins and corporate organisation, labour force dynamics, concentration and mobility and so forth — although these things are key to their analysis. This means that they have analysed the ways that the corporate world talks about itself, the language it uses in management og, and therefore the ways that business conceives of its own ways of making sense of its world — that is, of business cultures and practices.
The New Spirit of Capitalism: Luc Boltanski: Verso
It also means that they are interested in change, in how these discourses of culture have varied and as a result what is new or different about the current situation. Both of these things — the question and the methods — in and of themselves make this an extremely important contribution to social, cultural, economic and political understandings of the contemporary world.
These first two forms they see as being able to be classified in different circumstances as centred on tropes — they call them logics of justification — they classify as inspirationaldomesticreputationalciviccommercial or industrial — not that these shorthands mean much in this brief overview of a page book. This, in itself, is a significant contribution to contemporary scholarship and understanding — but they do more.
The second set of analyses to advance is centred on critiques of capitalism that they see as having four principle arguments — it is a source of disenchantment and inauthenticityit is a source of oppressionit is a source of poverty and inequalityand it is a source of opportunism and egoism.
But this is getting ahead of myself…. In the manner of good scientists, they also include appendices in the book that shows us their data, their classification systems and their principal findings I do like open scholarship! Alongside this shift, they point to an active dismantling of what they call the defences of the world of work — trade unions and so forth — and a significant shift in the balances of power between workers and employers.
Amid all of this — it is not an easy read, this is serious scholarship, not popular or journalistic critique — there is a potent argument for and justification of critique, and Boltanski and Chiapello are refreshingly eclectic in their use of sources.
They draw on, amongst others, Marxist critique, radical Durkheimian approaches, those influenced by Weber, and by Neitzsche. In doing so, they also see critique as progressive — not a return to what there was but a building of something new. Despite its focus on France as a data source and as a place to test in social contexts the shifting balances between social and political sources — this book has a powerful global significance it is not too difficult to translate the French conditions and forces to other social contexts and ask compelling questions there and it deserves to be read, used and considered in much wider settings than it seems to have been.
Whereas much of the material I read is often little more than a restatement of previously made arguments into slightly new settings — and as such important contributions to understanding, this is a rare book that amounts to a major analytical shift and points to new frames and modes of analysis. It deserves to be a classic. I expect that I will have to revisit several times, and that each time I will find new things, new ideas and new ways of shaping both questions and answers that deal with work, social life and struggles, and contemporary politics.
Nov 13, Mirza Sultan-Galiev rated it really liked it Shelves: Ever stood under blinding florescent lights stocking shelves or any other such drudgery while thinking of how much fun, you an “independent team member” are having in your “flexible, fast paced workplace”? The argument is that Capitalism has shifted since the s from a paternalistic bureaucratic operation that characterized the post-war era. To a more individualistic but exploitive mode with a great deal of freedom for workers but little security.
The book was very theoretical with little concrete to ground the analysis. It would have been easi Very dense.
It would have been easier to comprehend with specific examples. Way too much theorizing. May 08, Khisraw Amini rated it really liked it Shelves: As the authors mention in the book that the critique of capitalism needs to account for the facts of the transforming world of work, in order to keep up with the displacements of capitalism and jew its critique, this book is an ambitious endeavor to develop a systematic psirit for understanding capitalism in its entirety and history.
What we have seen of the critical tradition on capitalism have been often reactionary fleeting remarks on the certain aspects of the current economic arrangeme As the authors mention in the book that the critique of capitalism needs to account for the facts of the transforming world of work, in order to spitit up with the displacements of capitalism and develop its critique, this book is an ambitious endeavor bolttanski develop a systematic account for understanding capitalism in its entirety and history.
What we have seen of the critical tradition on capitalism have been often capitaliem fleeting remarks on the certain aspects of the current economic arrangement of the world that interested their authors and looked unjust to them, and made them to raise their voices, rather than expounding on how it came to be so and what the just arrangement should look like.
This way, we have had critiques reflecting certain resentments against the destructions of globalism or wars, which would tthe easily buried in the oblivion by the powerful machinery of the capitalist justification, so to speak. This itself, as the book cbiapello, is sppirit sign of the decline of critique in the last decades of the 20th century.
The dramatic displacements that capitalism has gone through during this period have been bigger than what the journalistic critique is capable chiapelko catching up with. Also, the authors show that, the artistic critique of liberation and authenticity, which has been prevalent even to this time has proved to be an easy ground for capitalism to neutralize it and turn it to a justification fot it’s own enterprise. One reason may be that this critique did not feel the need to understand capitalism in its entirety, which is inalienable from socioeconomic injustices, and propose elaborate chiapelol.
So it is not a surprise that the force of this type of critique at times can easily be targeted at the state rather than particularly capitalism. Making sense of capitalism in its historical transformation would require a serious critical account that accounts,for all relevant aspects and reveal spirif subtle displacements in their historical continuities.
This book sets a good example for this. This is a classic modern work of sociology, which sets out to unpick the relationship between society, politics, and chiapell mechanisms of the economy. The key concept presented by the authors is that in order to survive capitalism needs to be accompanied by both a “spirit” and a “critique”.
The “spirit” is a positive expression used to inspire commitment to the continuation of capitalism. Passive non-resistance is not enough, the system needs active commitment from both workers, managers, and leaders This is a classic modern work of sociology, which sets out to unpick the bolanski between society, politics, and the mechanisms of the economy.
Passive non-resistance is bpltanski enough, the system needs active commitment from both workers, managers, and leaders to continuing to reproduce that system. The “spirit of capitalism” then is “the ideology that justifies engagement in capitalism” by defining “not only the advantages which participation in the capitalist processes might afford on an individual basis, but also the collective benefits, defined in terms of the common good, which it contributes to producing for everyone.
The authors use management literature to develop an analysis of that shared vision, on the reasonable basis that the guidance presented to managers is a clear indication of how the system is “supposed” to work, in a way that supports the most efficient running of that system. Using this technique they contend that for much of the twentieth century the spirit of capitalism was built on secure jobs and hierarchical progress with accepted union rights supporting the division caputalism increasing wealth in a way perceived ciapello be fair.
Each neq is accompanied by “critique” with two emphases. A ‘social’ critique that addresses the impact of the system on inequality and distribution of wealth, and an ‘artistic’ critique that addresses the impact on individual human psychology. It is the interaction between the way things are supposed to work the ‘spirit’ and critique that drives the stability of the status quo. The system responds to criticism which in turn reacts to new developments in an ongoing dialogue.
With a strong French perspective the authors outline how the critique of post-war capitalism dominated by large monolithic firms with hierarchical bureaucracies and the accompanying “second spirit” of capitalism peaked with the events of In Britain it is possible to perceive a similar situation in the various crises of the ‘s.
Capitaalism the impact of critique not only workers but also managers and owners reached the point where they were no longer able to maintain the belief that the system could continue as it then existed, or was capable of maintaining the common good. The prevailing spirit broke down, unable to respond to criticism of the stifling effect of bureaucracy, the inauthenticity of mass produced commodity consumerism, and distributional mechanisms built around white, straight male dominated industrial workplaces.
As a result of this breakdown, a new spirit of capitalism has begun to emerge that is able to respond to this criticism. Again, built up from the management literature – this time of the s – it is one based around flexible working in networked environments which deliver more individual control over life and work, but also a more precarious life style Ahead of their time, what the authors are describing is the modern world of the ‘gig economy’, the zero-hours contract, and the ‘precariat’.
This third spirit neutralises the critique of the second spirit by allowing more focus on the individual and less on the collective, allowing the subsequent development of ‘identity politics’, accompanied by the break up of the large monolithic companies into many loosely linked component boltanki. The move away from inauthentic mass commodity production is exemplified by the creation of new ‘artisan’ products.
This new system they term the “projective city”, because it is upon relations built around individuals collaborating in projects rather than working in command-and-control hierarchies. The authors theorise that after a hiatus when this new third spirit was thw the ascendant and the old critique of the ‘second spirit’ of capitalism was neutralised, new forms of criticism are becoming visible.
Tthe highlight the exploitation inherent in a network model of employment where the freedom and flexibility available to the few is built on the requirement for many to work cheaply and without security, to be discarded when it suits the business. Corporations similarly are broken up into flexible and loosely connected parts to avoid both tax and other social obligations. This provides the basis on which criticism might resume, although the authors are clear that modern critical thought has yet to catch up with the changes visible in what might be called the relations of production.
Critique is necessary however to keep the system ‘honest’ and without it, it falls prey to its worst excesses, as can be demonstrated from the experience of the last 10 years. There is also a lesson here for Jeremy Corbyn’s revitalised Chiapelo Party who it feels are still refighting the battles of the past, rather than trying to identify the new critique that will drive the changes of the future.
The authors disclaim any direct connection to Marxism or a Marxist analysis of capitalism, and reference a sociological historiography from Weber and Durkheim onward.
However what they seem xpirit describe are the detailed mechanics of the ‘hegemony’ articulated and theorised by Gramsci. What they describe as the “spirit” of capitalism is simply the mechanism through which the dominant class acquires the subservience of the rest of society to the continuation of the existing system. Especially fascinating is the dialectical tension between the ‘spirit of capitalism’ and the critique directed at it.
The two remain in dialogue throughout and cannot exist without each other.
As the last 20 years have demonstrated, capitalism needs effective criticism to prevent it from falling into the self-destructive pattern identified by Marx. This book is a detailed and fascinating explanation of the interaction between modern society and economy.
While not directly Marxist, it is a fascinating accompaniment to Marxist thought and a spur to reflective thinking capittalism how revolutionary change in the modern world might come about.
This review is also available on my blog https: May 29, Elfie Mc rated it it was amazing. Essential reading for anyone who has ever felt disillusioned by the current work mentality. Jun 11, Brandon rated it liked it. Not an easy read, chiiapello theory. En skandale at den her bog ikke er oversat til dansk.
I’ve read the prologue and this looks amazing albeit enormous.