Authenticity at Work: Questioning the New Spirit of Capitalism from a Micro-sociological Perspective

Susanne Ekman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter draws on ethnographic material from creative knowledge work organizations to illustrate the contradictory effects of the ‘connexionist logic’ which are not captured by the text analysis in The New Spirit of Capitalism (NSC). Mainly, the chapter focuses on Boltanski & Chiapello's claim that NSC generates increased worker vulnerability due to commodification of ‘authenticity’and due to the coexistence of increased autonomy and increased control. Using micro-sociological data, this chapter nuances the claim by showing how the very same trends also increase worker influence and heighten manager vulnerability. It also shows how NSC generates a complex blurring of exploitation and self-realization, and of success and vulnerability, which calls for more contradictory analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Spirits of Capitalism : Crises, Justifications, and Dynamics
EditorsPaul du Gay, Glenn Morgan
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)9780199595341
ISBN (Electronic)9780191750755
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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