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Identity in the Age of the New Economy

Life in Temporary and Scattered Work Practices Edited by Torben Elgaard Jensen, Professor, Aalborg University and Ann Westenholz, Professor, Department of Organization and Industrial Sociology, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Identity in the Age of the New Economy is a multi-faceted view of contemporary employment and identity that questions a number of the myths related to the so-called new economy, knowledge society or network society. It argues that one of the most striking things about much contemporary theorizing on work and identity is the epochalist terms in which it is framed: changing forms of identity and subjectivity are assumed to be consequences of a shift to an entirely new economic, social and cultural era, signalled by concepts such as postmodernity, risk society, network society or new economy.
Extent: 176 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978 1 84376 639 1
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  • Business and Management
  • Organisation Studies
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
Identity in the Age of the New Economy is a multi-faceted view of contemporary employment and identity that questions a number of the myths related to the so-called new economy, knowledge society or network society. It argues that one of the most striking things about much contemporary theorizing on work and identity is the epochalist terms in which it is framed: changing forms of identity and subjectivity are assumed to be consequences of a shift to an entirely new economic, social and cultural era, signalled by concepts such as postmodernity, risk society, network society or new economy.

The book deviates from the epochalist claim and follows the path of recent years’ sociological/social-psychological analyses of identities, presenting detailed empirical studies of relational identities in scattered and temporary work practices. The authors demonstrate how identities are endogenous variables, focus on highly educated contingent employees and direct the analyses from the politics of interests to the politics of identities.

Exploring the nexus between identity and the organization of work life, this wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary book will be of great interest to both academics and practitioners in the fields of human resource management, industrial relations and psychology. It will also appeal to those with an interest in organization theory.
‘I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read and review this manuscript. It has a clear and important message and is written with infectious enthusiasm and commitment. Work and organizational identity theory is attracting a great deal of attention. There is plenty of room in this expanding field for a book that is as well conceived and as well positioned as this one. The book’s timely theoretical argument is well supported by six richly detailed ethnographic and historical case studies.’
– Brad Jackson, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Contributors: O. Bergström, P. du Gay, T.E. Jensen, P. Leisink, L. McFall, L. Strannegård, G. Ursell, E. van Wijk, A. Westenholz
Contents: Introduction: Studies of Work and Identity beyond the Epochal 1. The Culturalization of Work in the ‘New’ Economy: An Historical View 2. Changing Times, Changing Identities: A Case Study of British Journalists 3. The Networking Arena 4. Temporary Stars – The Rise and Fall of a Talent Agency 5. On Becoming a Freelance Creative Professional 6. Emerging Identities beyond Organizational Boundaries Afterword: The Tyranny of the Epochal and Work Identity Index