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Book part
Publication date: 28 July 2008

Kevin Fox Gotham and Daniel A. Krier

Since Karl Marx fashioned his theory of capitalism in the nineteenth century, scholars have continually updated Marxian theory to capture the pervasiveness of commodity…

Abstract

Since Karl Marx fashioned his theory of capitalism in the nineteenth century, scholars have continually updated Marxian theory to capture the pervasiveness of commodity relations in modern society. Influenced by Georg Lukács and Henri Lefebvre, the members of the French avant-guard group, the Situationist International (1957–1972), developed an intransigent critique of consumer capitalism based on the concept of the spectacle. In the spectacle, media and consumer society replace lived experience, the passive gaze of images supplants active social participation, and new forms of alienation induce social atomization at a more abstract level than in previous societies. We endeavor to make two theoretical contributions: First, we highlight the contributions of the Situationist International, pointing out how they revised the Marxian categories of alienation, commodification, and reification in order to analyze the dynamics of twentieth century capitalism and to give these concepts new explanatory power. Second, we build a critical theory of consumer capitalism that incorporates the theoretical assumptions and arguments of the Situationists and the Frankfurt School. Today, critical theory can make an important contribution to sociology by critically examining the plurality of spectacles and their reifying manifestations. In addition, critical theorists can explore how different spectacles connect to one another, how they connect to different social institutions, and how spectacles express contradictions and conflicting meanings. A critical theory of spectacle and consumption can disclose both novelties and discontinuities in the current period, as well as continuities in the development of globalized consumer capitalism.

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No Social Science without Critical Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-538-3

Abstract

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Terror, Leisure and Consumption: Spaces for Harm in a Post-Crash Era
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-526-5

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Michael G. Goldsby, Brian Burton, Peter Grana and Christopher P. Neck

The purpose of this paper is to address the current debate between business ethics and economics by examining the underlying ideologies of each side.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the current debate between business ethics and economics by examining the underlying ideologies of each side.

Design/methodology/apprach

It is our intention in this article to examine the stories business ethicists and economists utilize to explain how the world works. A two dimensional model is employed to accomplish this goal by plotting the two sides' different theories of human nature on one axis and the two sides' different theories of society on the other axis.

Findings

This article provides a framework for assisting practitioners and scholars/teachers in better understanding the origins and causes for the debates that take place on complex issues regarding the economic domain.

Research limitation/implications

A limitation of this article is that while it offers better understanding of positions, it does not offer guidance to the reader in crafting future strategies. Space does not warrant doing so in this article; however, it is an important issue.

Practical implications

The framework in this article can be utilized to help managers and students understand the debate between business ethicists and economists, help them to examine and form their own positions, and be better prepared to take part in debates that promote societal progress.

Originality/value

While scholars have described the current debates well, little coverage has been placed on how the debate arose. By knowing how past and current positions were developed, it is our hope that more informed frameworks addressing developing social issues can be developed in the future.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Maxine Eichner

This paper poses the question of whether the mainstream feminist movement in the United States, in concentrating its efforts on achieving gender parity in the existing…

Abstract

This paper poses the question of whether the mainstream feminist movement in the United States, in concentrating its efforts on achieving gender parity in the existing workplace, is selling women short. In it, I argue that contemporary U.S. feminism has not adequately theorized the problems with the relatively unregulated market system in the United States. That failure has contributed to a situation in which women’s participation in the labor market is mistakenly equated with liberation, and in which other far-ranging effects of the market system on women’s lives inside and outside of work – many of them negative – are overlooked. To theorize the effects of the market system on women’s lives in a more nuanced manner, I borrow from the insights of earlier Marxist and socialist feminists. I then use this more nuanced perspective to outline an agenda for feminism, which I call “market-cautious feminism,” that seeks to regulate the market to serve women’s interests.

Details

Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-782-0

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 5 December 2018

Thomas Raymen

Abstract

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Parkour, Deviance and Leisure in the Late-Capitalist City: An Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-812-5

Article
Publication date: 13 June 2017

Anthony Lloyd

The purpose of this paper is to consider existing debates within the sociology of work, particularly the re-emergence of labour process theory (LPT) and the “collective…

1181

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider existing debates within the sociology of work, particularly the re-emergence of labour process theory (LPT) and the “collective worker”, in relation to resistance at work. Through presentation of primary data and a dialectical discussion about the nature of ideology, the paper offers alternative interpretations on long-standing debates and raises questions about the efficacy of workplace resistance.

Design/methodology/approach

The design of this methodology is an ethnographic study of a call centre in the North-East of England, a covert participant observation at “Call Direct” supplemented by semi-structured interviews with call centre employees.

Findings

The findings in this paper suggest that resistance in the call centre mirrors forms of resistance outlined elsewhere in both the call centre literature and classical workplace studies from the industrial era. However, in presenting an alternative interpretation of ideology, as working at the level of action rather than thought, the paper reinterprets the data and characterises workplace resistance as lacking the political potential for change often emphasised in LPT and other workplace studies.

Originality/value

The original contribution of this paper is in applying an alternative interpretation of ideology to a long-standing debate. In asking sociology of work scholars to consider the “reversal of ideology”, it presents an alternative perspective on resistance in the workplace and raises questions about the efficacy of workplace disobedience.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Ian Mitchell

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the significance and limitations of ethical shopping in Britain in the period between the 1880s and 1914 and, in particular…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the significance and limitations of ethical shopping in Britain in the period between the 1880s and 1914 and, in particular, the use of white lists as a means of encouraging consumers only to buy goods produced in satisfactory working conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

A brief survey of earlier examples of ethical shopping provides the context for a discussion of the published prospectus of the “Consumers” League’. Unpublished records of the Christian Social Union (CSU), supplemented by newspaper reports, are used to examine the rationale for white lists, their creation and effectiveness.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that, contrary to what has generally been thought, consumers’ leagues originated in Britain not the USA. The CSU was not ineffective but provided an ethical and religious rationale for consumer activism. It was also responsible for the creation of white lists in several towns and cities in Britain and promoted the concept of preferential buying. CSU activity helped shape public opinion, but sustained improvements to working conditions also required effective trade unions and government intervention.

Research limitations/implications

Relatively few CSU branch records survive and this precludes a comprehensive survey of its role in ethical shopping.

Originality/value

The British consumer movement in this period has been little studied and often dismissed. By making use of archives, particularly CSU branch records, that have generally been ignored, the paper demonstrates that ethical shopping mattered and deserves more attention. It also highlights the importance of setting this in a wider context, particularly trade unionism and co-operation.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 24 March 2021

Carla Young

Scholarship on alternative organizations and cooperatives has argued that networks and intermediaries foster organizational form stability and protect…

Abstract

Scholarship on alternative organizations and cooperatives has argued that networks and intermediaries foster organizational form stability and protect collectivist-democratic organizations from rationalization as well as decoupling. This study of field-level organizing among food co-ops in the United States shows that rather than buffering collectivist organizations from conventional market and rationalization pressures, meta-organizations can also serve as a conduit for rationalizing pressures, subjecting vulnerable organizations to what I call quasi-coercive isomorphism. Using interviews of field participants, ethnographic observations of conferences, and content analysis of organizational documents, I examine the formation and impact of National Co+op Grocers, a meta-cooperative created to leverage scale and pool resources among food co-ops. I find that this meta-organization enforced grocery industry-oriented norms of operation, management, and presentation among its member organizations in return for providing mutual liability and economies of scale. This focus on select operationally scalable processes and structures for support generated isomorphic pressures that exposed, rather than sheltered, co-ops, especially smaller, resource-poor ones, from industry standards. The meta-organization thus promoted a sectorized model of more marketized practices for the field’s cooperatives that pushed co-ops to adopt conventional grocery store practices and distanced them from the practices of other cooperative form fields. Moreover, the potential of cooperative form-specific elements for scaling was not realized: collective ownership and democratic governance remained local concerns. These findings suggest that whether meso-level cooperation among cooperatives can support alternative form maintenance is contingent on the structure and scope of the meta-organization and on the perceived scalability of operational and governance elements of the cooperative organizational form.

Details

Organizational Imaginaries: Tempering Capitalism and Tending to Communities through Cooperatives and Collectivist Democracy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-989-7

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Theoretical Times
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-669-3

Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2005

Rekha Mirchandani

Zygmunt Bauman's work is a case study in the possibilities of postmodernism for sociology. Characterized on the one hand by a gloomy epistemology about knowledge and…

Abstract

Zygmunt Bauman's work is a case study in the possibilities of postmodernism for sociology. Characterized on the one hand by a gloomy epistemology about knowledge and morality in a postmodern world and on the other, by provocative new concepts to empirically describe a postmodern world, Bauman's work evidences a key tension within postmodern thought. Is it possible to reconcile Bauman's pessimistic epistemology with his optimistic sociology? My argument is that if we recast Bauman as a critical theorist and his method as dialectical immanent critique, we can see how his positive empirical concepts are based on his negative epistemology. In this way we can make sense of the complexity of Bauman's work and appreciate his prophetic abilities. The complexities and possibilities of postmodern thought in general become clearer as well.

Details

Social Theory as Politics in Knowledge
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-363-1

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