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The Culture of the New Capitalism

The Culture of the New Capitalism

Paperback Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, & Economics (Paperback)

Edited by Richard Sennett

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 208mm x 18mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300119925
  • ISBN 13: 9780300119923
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 65,487

Product description

The distinguished sociologist Richard Sennett surveys major differences between earlier forms of industrial capitalism and the more global, more febrile, ever more mutable version of capitalism that is taking its place. He shows how these changes affect everyday life--how the work ethic is changing; how new beliefs about merit and talent displace old values of craftsmanship and achievement; how what Sennett calls "the specter of uselessness" haunts professionals as well as manual workers; how the boundary between consumption and politics is dissolving. In recent years, reformers of both private and public institutions have preached that flexible, global corporations provide a model of freedom for individuals, unlike the experience of fixed and static bureaucracies Max Weber once called an "iron cage." Sennett argues that, in banishing old ills, the new-economy model has created new social and emotional traumas. Only a certain kind of human being can prosper in unstable, fragmentary institutions: the culture of the new capitalism demands an ideal self oriented to the short term, focused on potential ability rather than accomplishment, willing to discount or abandon past experience. In a concluding section, Sennett examines a more durable form of self hood, and what practical initiatives could counter the pernicious effects of "reform."

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Author information

Richard Sennett teaches sociology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics. His recent publications include The Corrosion of Character and Respect in a World of Inequality.

Review quote

"packed with thought... profound and challenging... Sennett is here opening up a fascinating debate about how modern institutions, with their constant restructurings and delayerings, are generating ever-sharper inequality." Madeleine Bunting, New Statesman "Sennett has been observing for some years how modern work patterns make self-respect ever harder to achieve. Now, he has brilliantly pushed his thinking to a remorseless conclusion... a triumph" Will Hutton, The Observer "Hardly any social thinkers have given serious thought to the drastic changes in corporate culture wrought by downsizing, 're-orging', and outsourcing. Fortunately, the exception - Richard Sennett - is also one of the most insightful public intellectuals we have. In The Culture of New Capitalism Sennett addresses the new corporate culture with his usual vast erudition, endlessly supple intellect, and firm moral outlook. The result is brilliant, disturbing, and absolutely necessary reading." Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream "Reflective, studded with sharp insights, moving with grace between big ideas and specific cases. This is vintage Sennett." Douglas W. Rae, author of City: Urbanism and Its End"