Privatization of life: a case from the industrial labor world in Brazil
The analytical assumption of this paper is that social and political dimensions should be tackled in one single frame in order to grasp the simultaneous effect of either deconstruction of class-homogeneity idea and the overture to the private field in the late modernity or post-modern age. It is taken for granted that the arena where social classes play their roles is not neutral, so the social fragmentation of collective identities and the political battles through private life are also terrains of dispute.
The examples chosen to explore these interconnections are two case studies taken between the mid-nineties and the beginning of the 2000s in São Paulo, Brazil, about issues related to the use of new methods of work organization, with special glance at teamwork. This organizational tool picked from the Just-in-time techniques and ‘Lean Production’ philosophy is especially suitable to the issues of individualization and thus allows a fruitful confrontation between the crisis of collective representation and the new exposure of private life. The hypothesis sustained behind this proposal is that companies and business discourse today are profiting from the dropping of public commitments (including unions and their appeal to collective action) to undertake an actual colonization of the private world.
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