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Work, narrative and identity in a market age

The global financial crisis of the early twenty-first century focused attention on the processes that sustain the excesses of corporate capitalism. This book gives an account of the role played by literature in human subjectivity and identity under the working conditions of late-capitalism as these affect the well-being of specialist, middle-class and public sector professionals. It explores how the organisation struggles to reconcile the flexibility and responsiveness characteristic of modern business with the unity and stability needed for a coherent image. Next, an examination of business survivor manuals addressing the needs of employees failing to cope with time-pressure and the required transformation into perfect new economy workers discovers their use of appealing narrative principles. The book covers the theoretical foundations on which assumptions about the subjectivity and identity of the professional middle class have been made, including the ideological pressures and contradictions. It also investigates satisfying work more fully through analysis of popular practical instruction books on cookery and horticulture. The book considers how organic activities involving slow time, such as horticulture, cookery and the craft of writing about them, give a strong cultural message concerning the current organisation of time, work satisfaction and relationships. In particular, it deals with how the human feels attuned to balance, continuity and interconnectedness through the cyclical patterns and regulated rhythms of slower evolutionary change evident in natural systems. The nature of the autobiographic text is also considered in the book.

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examined (below), the development is in the opposite direction towards an increasingly hardened discourse of efficiency and uncompromising management practice copied from the boardroom robustness of the private sector. Corporate business and the public sector The signalling of a cultural shift towards the performance-driven, cost-effective market dynamism of corporate business has implications for the character and identity of public sector workforces and marks the end of public sector employment as a positive choice made to avoid the worst excesses of corporate

in Telling tales
Towards a globalised notion of vampire identity

serves the economic interests of corporate television. While it can be said that the US vampire community has tried to create a globalised notion of vampire identity that is less fictional and applies to all individuals from around the world, it has in fact facilitated the uniform spread of a Westernised version of the vampire. Apart from international vampire organisations located in the US, there are a

in Globalgothic
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is part of a human’s practical identity, i.e. one who must act in the world. What this means in practice, according to recent research by Breakspear and Hamilton (2004a), is that ‘for most downshifters the dominant change in their lives involves taking control of their time and devoting it to more fulfilling activities’ (17).2 In the rejection of dominant market values and through a concern for physical and mental well-being, middleclass downshifters attracted to slow living show a determination to take control over their lives with the specific aim of reconnecting

in Telling tales
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Fast time and workplace identity

01c-Telling Tales-001-009 23/5/12 10:33 Page 1 Introduction Fast time and workplace identity Narrative in the workplace The global financial crisis of the early twenty-first century focused attention on the processes that sustain the excesses of corporate capitalism. While academics for 40 years have debated the social effects of the new economy, only impending recession prompted widely asked questions about the longer-term costs of a financial market whose deregulated systems have allowed capital accumulation that is not tied to a base of real (i

in Telling tales
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counter-narrative to the over-determining corporate-speak discussed in the previous chapter. In summary, current ideas of inter-subjectivity suppose a dynamic relationship between self and structure, each having power to modify the other. The self is neither entirely institutionally determined nor self-determined, but is continually created and recreated at (and as) a point of convergence of (mostly unknowable) external influence and its (equally uncertain) interplay on genetic make-up and personal experience. Identity-making in today’s fluid conditions is no longer

in Telling tales
Clive Barker’s Halloween Horror Nights and brand authorship

. While processes of product differentiation and the management of brand identities between advertising agencies and manufacturers can be traced to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Celia Lury suggests that branding became an increasingly crucial cultural and economic process from the 1970s onwards. Forming part of the consolidation of global markets and corporate

in Clive Barker
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Refiguring Dracula in a neoliberal age

marketise their identities (or self-brands) in the most productive and lucrative manner. While the opportunity of prosperity and entrepreneurship might have been viewed with optimism in the pre-recession decades, post-2008 neoliberalism’s market-driven logic appears less as an individual entitlement than a compassionless corporate contract that absolves debt-ridden governments from

in Neoliberal Gothic
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time. Chief among these, I shall argue, is that autobiography holds possibilities for self-examination and self-expression, both of which are compromised by the pace and instantaneity of neoliberal productivity. Autobiography offers also a linguistically based means of healing the discourse-induced stress caused by corporate messages urging particular sanctioned identities that uphold economic growth in Western economies (see Chapter 1). It handles the process of selfmaking and the contradictions and resolutions facing the ‘I’ in 07c-Telling Tales-174-197 23

in Telling tales
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contradictions and the loss of the inherent satisfaction of public service that, for some, is a key issue of identity. Chiefly, the corporate call to employees to align with organisational values and to adopt and internalise the behaviours and attitudes that serve the fast-producing, short-deadline, cost-conscious organisation is antithetical to many individuals’ acculturated autonomy and to the satisfactions of a non-cost-dependent service ethic. In addition, the instability, uncertainty and disorientation caused by structural dissolution, plus the overstretch required in a

in Telling tales